Rob Shapiro, Media - 212-445-8310
Julie Tu - Analysts - 212-837-3776
For Immediate Release
GREG MANNING AUCTIONS, INC. ANNOUNCES CORPORATE NAME CHANGE TO ESCALA GROUP
Jose Miguel Herrero Named President and CEO of Escala Group
Ambassador Antonio Martins Da Cruz and
Rafael del Valle-Iturriaga Join Board of Directors
New York, NY, Sept. 28, 2005 - Greg Manning Auctions, Inc. (Nasdaq: GMAI)
today announced that the Company has changed its corporate name to Escala
Group, Inc., effective today, and will trade on the Nasdaq National Market
under the new ticker symbol ESCL. Escala Group has established its new
corporate headquarters in mid-town Manhattan, New York.
Escala Group also announced that Jose Miguel Herrero, 50, a member of the
Company's Board of Directors since 2003, has been named President and Chief
Executive Officer of the Company. Prior to joining Escala Group, Mr.
Herrero was founder and managing partner of High Ground, a corporate finance
firm focused on technology and innovation. From 1996 through 2000, Mr.
Herrero served as CEO of LaNetro, S.A., an internet company based in Spain.
He holds an MBA in Finance and International Operations from U.C. Berkeley.
The Company also announced that Greg Manning, 59, will become President of
Escala's North American and Asian Philatelic Auction Division. He will
remain as First Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Esteban Perez, Chairman and Chief Corporate Strategy Officer, said, "Over the
past few years, starting with the integration of the auction businesses of
Greg Manning Auctions and Auctentia, S.L., we have brought together a global
network of premier international collectibles companies which now make up the
Escala Group. These companies position us as a global powerhouse in the
collectibles market. Our businesses now include Auctions, Merchant/Dealer
Operations and Trading, all of which will operate under the Escala Group
umbrella. Our new name reflects the evolution of our company and is an
integral part of the implementation of our overall growth strategy. Going
forward, under the capable leadership of Jose Miguel, we look to expand our
presence and market share worldwide."
Mr. Perez continued, "Mr. Manning's new responsibilities include a special
dedication to the Asian market and the opportunities that it presents,
especially in Hong Kong and China Mainland (Greater China), both for
developing the market of philatelic auctions
and exploring the possibilities of starting the development of philatelic
investment products in the Chinese market."
Jose Miguel Herrero, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, "I am
excited about Escala Group's future prospects. We have a strong foundation
and we all believe that there are numerous opportunities to take our company
to its next level of growth. I look forward to working with the management
team to further develop our business both organically and through
acquisitions. We will continue to seek strategic synergistic opportunities
worldwide in our current areas of business. We will also look to make
selective art acquisitions in the U.S. and Europe."
In addition, Escala Group announced the resignation of Anthony Bongiovanni
and Emilio Ballester from the Company's Board of Directors. In accepting
these resignations, the Board thanked Mr. Bongiovanni and Mr. Ballester for
their contributions to the Company.
Ambassador Antonio Martins Da Cruz, 58, was appointed by the Board to fill
one of the vacancies on the Board of Directors, to serve in the class of
directors whose term expires in 2006. Mr. Martins Da Cruz was Ambassador
from Portugal to Spain from 1999 to 2001 and Minister of Foreign Affairs from
2002-2003. Since that time he has been a professor of International
Relations, University of Lusiada, Lisbon. He also serves as International
and Institutional Relations Manager of Afinsa Bienes Tangibles, S.A., the
Company's majority stockholder.
Rafael del Valle-Iturriaga, 50, was appointed by the Board to fill the other
Board vacancy, to serve until 2006. Mr. del Valle-Iturriaga is Chief
Executive of Saarema Inversiones, a private equity/industrial holding company
based in Madrid. Prior to that, he was the Managing Director and Country
Head, Iberia, of the Bank of America, N.A. in Madrid. Mr. del
Valle-Iturriaga has a BA in Law from the University of Deusto (Bilbao) and a
BA in Business Administration from ICADE University in Madrid.
Escala will commemorate the Company's listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market by
officially opening the market at 9:30 a.m. ET.
The listing ceremony can be viewed at Nasdaq's website at
About Escala Group.
Escala Group is a global federation of leading companies in the collectibles
market with operations in North America, Europe and Asia as well as on the
Internet. The company operates through a number of subsidiaries that
specialize in various sectors of the collectibles markets, and is comprised
of three business areas: auctions, merchant/dealer operations and trading.
Escala Group's North American operations include Greg Manning Auctions
division, Ivy & Manning Philatelic Auctions, Greg Manning Galleries, Spectrum
Numismatics, Teletrade, Nutmeg Stamp Sales, Superior Sports Auctions, Bowers
and Merena Auctions, and Kingswood Coin Auctions, and H.R. Harmer. In
Europe, the leading auction houses affiliated with the network are Auctentia
Subastas (Afinsa Auctions) of Madrid, Spain, Corinphila Auktionen of Zurich,
Switzerland, and the Koehler group of auction companies of Berlin and
Wiesbaden, Germany. In Asia, Escala's auctions operations are conducted
through John Bull Stamp Auctions, Ltd, the oldest philatelic auction house in
Merchant/dealer activities are conducted through Greg Manning Auctions and
GMAI-Auctentia Central de Compras of Madrid, which act as exclusive suppliers
of collectibles - primarily stamps and coins - on a
worldwide basis to Afinsa Bienes Tangibles, S.A. of Madrid, Spain, and through
Spectrum Numismatics International, one of the largest wholesalers of rare coins
in the U.S. Afinsa is Escala Group's majority shareholder.
The trading activities of Escala Group are conducted through A-Mark Precious
Metals, one of the largest private sellers of bullion coins and bullion gold,
silver and platinum to the wholesale marketplace.
Statements in this press release that relate to future plans, objectives,
expectations, performance, events and the like are "forward-looking
statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform
Act of 1995 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Future events, risks and
uncertainties, individually or in the aggregate, could cause actual results
to differ materially from those expressed or implied in these statements.
Factors that may cause such differences include changes in market conditions,
changes in economic environment, competitive factors and the other factors
discussed in the "forward-looking information" or "risk factors" sections
included in Escala Group's filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, including Escala Group's Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly
Reports on Form 10-Q, prospectuses and other documents that Escala Group has
filed with the Commission. In particular, any statement related to Escala
Group's expected revenues or earnings or Escala Group's being well positioned
for future profitability and growth are forward-looking statements. The words
"should,""believe,""estimate,""expect,""intend,""anticipate,""foresee,""plan" and similar expressions and variations thereof identify certain of
such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the dates on which
they were made. Additionally, any statements related to future improved
performance and estimates of revenues and earnings per share are
forward-looking statements. Escala Group undertakes no obligation to publicly
update or revise any forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned not to
place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
Dates Referenced Herein and Documents Incorporated by Reference