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Old 06-06-2019, 02:32 PM   #1
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B&N being bought?

It's being reported that Barnes and Noble is nearing a deal to be bought by Elliott Management Corp, a hedge fund. The deal isn't final, but if it happens, it will be interesting to see what effect it has.
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Old 06-06-2019, 02:59 PM   #2
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Reported today by The Wall Street Journal. (Article is behind a paywall.)

Coverage by CNBC here: Elliott Management reportedly in lead to acquire bookseller Barnes & Noble

Quote:
Elliott Management is the lead bidder for bookseller Barnes & Noble in a deal that could be announced as soon as later this week, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

Barnes & Noble shares were briefly halted on the news, and surged more than 24% when trading resumed. Talks among Elliott and other companies bidding for Barnes & Noble are still underway and a deal is not guaranteed, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

Last edited by jhowell; 06-06-2019 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 03:15 PM   #3
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For shareholders this might be a really good deal. But unless this turns out much different than other hedge fund buys, customers will be at the very bottom of whatever totem pole is used.


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Old 06-06-2019, 04:04 PM   #4
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This is not good news. Hedge funds like to buy up struggling retailers, load them up with debt from their other businesses and let them go bankrupt taking all the debt down with them. They’re not interested in turning them around and running them as a business. Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us, Sports Authority, Radio Shack, Payless Shoes, and many others were destroyed this way.
https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/16/inves...ity/index.html
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Old 06-06-2019, 04:44 PM   #5
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Yep. Hedge fund = shut it down and sell the real estate.
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Old 06-06-2019, 05:26 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JasperBeardly View Post
This is not good news.
..... Sears, Toys ‘R’ Us, Sports Authority, Radio Shack, Payless Shoes, and many others were destroyed this way...

Thanks. I was just going to ask if we had this precedent with any other companies. I guess we do
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:08 PM   #7
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Elliott Management bought Waterstones Booksellers last year.
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Old 06-06-2019, 06:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fbone View Post
Elliott Management bought Waterstones Booksellers last year.
Yup.

From the WSJ:

Quote:

Elliott, best known recently for its shareholder-activist campaigns, is increasingly pushing into private-equity investments and in 2017 hired Paul Best to head its European private-equity arm. Mr. Best led the purchase of Waterstones, which Elliott bought in a deal worth roughly $279 million.

Under Mr. Daunt, Waterstones rebounded from a period of losses and—unlike many other retailers—has been opening new stores, which it fashions to feel like independent shops.

It now has roughly 290 locations, mainly in the U.K. and Ireland, and revenue in its most recent fiscal year was about £400 million ($508 million).
They're fronted by James Daunt, who fixed Waterstones by ditching payola and going hyperlocal: letting individual store managers select their stock and store layout according to local tastes.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/20...rned-to-profit

Quote:

With a mixture of tough love and an unshakeable belief in the power of the physical book, which seemed quixotic in the era of e-readers and online discounting, Daunt began to turn things around. He closed underperforming stores and fired 200 booksellers, at the same time as declaring that his managers would be given back responsibility for their own stock, because what sold in Hampstead might not go down well in the Highlands. One of his boldest moves was to inform publishers that he would no longer do business through sales reps and they could no longer buy window space – which meant turning his back on £27m a year.

Instead, a small team of buyers – in close consultation with Daunt himself – would select titles to feature as books of the month across all the stores, while individual managers were free to tailor much of their stock to their customers’ tastes.

He even tried renaming individual stores with different local names, to see if the Waterstones name might be a liability.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/sh...e_iOSApp_Other

Quote:

In comparison to the rest of the chain, the new Waterstones branches are tiny – Southwold’s new shop is a mere 700sqft, barely room to swing a cat in hat. In comparison, the smallest Waterstones is 2,500sqft. “What people expect when they see the brand is a lot of books, but when you walk into something no bigger than a London bus, then it has got to be different,” he says.

The new shops have opened in previously empty properties, he says, in towns long abandoned by the book trade.

https://www.newstatesman.com/microsi...in-s-bookshops

Quote:

“If you’re sitting centrally and you send out the same books to Middlesbrough as to Hampstead, you’re going to have an awful lot of books in the wrong shops. If you let Middlesbrough order what they want and Hampstead order what they want, they will be dramatically more accurate and nuanced. “What’s more, says Daunt, “they have the responsibility for selling the books. So if they’ve ordered in ten copies of your new biography, they put it front and centre and they sell the thing.” Each branch of Waterstones was now, to some extent, an independent bookshop.

It was not easy for Daunt to persuade his centralised management to relinquish control over what was sold in their shops. “To marketeers, it’s a heresy to let every bookshop do absolutely whatever it likes.” To illustrate the difference it makes giving autonomy to booksellers, Daunt opens his tablet and finds a recent email from a publisher whose daughter recently started working at Waterstones. The young woman is sat at her kitchen table, hours before she is due to begin work, hand-painting pieces for a window display. “A chain retail marketeer would have blue-eyed fit about that,” chuckles Daunt. “If Boots allowed staff to sit at their breakfast tables, painting things...! But in a bookshop, that would make the shop more fun, more vibrant. And clearly the bookseller is invested in selling that book. They are only selling that book because they love it.

“But, and it is quite a big but, there is accountability. You can do whatever you like, but it’s got to be friendly, positive, and it’s got to work. If you start doing pretentious, convoluted, awful, ugly, we’ll knock on the door.”

Quote:

For now, however, there are two numbers upon which this skills-based approach can be judged. It’s possible that Daunt, as a bookseller, takes the most satisfaction from his rate of returns: 97 per cent of the books on shelves in every Waterstones in the country are bought by customers. His employer is probably more interested in operating profit, however, which reappeared for the business last year for the first time in seven years.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/el...06?mod=hp_econ

https://finance.yahoo.com/video/barn...200740516.html

This could be good for B&M pbook buyers.
.
.
.
On the other hand, Daunt is no fan of ebooks. At least in the UK.

https://the-digital-reader.com/2012/...ibrary-ebooks/

Last edited by fjtorres; 06-06-2019 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:26 PM   #9
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I wonder what the temperature is in zip code 48169? (That'd be the zip code Hell, Michigan is in, to explain the joke)

And to be serious, B&N seems like there's a good chance its market cap is less than its assets.

Last edited by binaryhermit; 06-06-2019 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:29 PM   #10
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I wonder what the temperature is in zip code 48169? (That'd be the zip code Hell, Michigan is in, to explain the joke)

And to be serious, B&N seems like there's a good chance its market cap is less than its assets.
Well, it's not a done deal.
Riggio might still find a way to torpedo the deal.
Or Elliot might run away screaming like W.H. Smith.
But it does look like a cold front might be moving in to at least the fourth circle.

Anyway, their backend infrastructure is almost certainly worth more than their stock price. It's the rest of the business that is tanking.

Last edited by fjtorres; 06-06-2019 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 06-06-2019, 08:54 PM   #11
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Not all hedge funds buy to bankrupt a business. Some will buy with the idea that they can revive the business and then sell it at a profit at some point in the future. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:02 AM   #12
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As a long-time B&N customer, I hope the news is both true and positive rather than negative. I have long believed that Riggio is a major reason why B&N has not been more successful.

I have a contact in the main B&N office and for several years I have advised the contact that B&N will ultimately lose my preorder business if it does not institute a lowest price guarantee for preorders. I told the contact that by lowest price I mean lowest price that B&N offered the book at, not a price equal to or lower than what Amazon or some other competitor offered the book at. At B&N, if you preorder a book, whatever price you preorder at is the price you pay, even if 3 days later B&N offers a lower preorder price and 7 days after that a higher preorder price. That means one has to constantly monitor B&N pricing and cancel and reenter preorders.

Although many of my suggestions were listened to, the preorder guarantee was not. Just in the past few weeks I wrote my contact again about the preorder guarantee and advised that as of January 1, I had begun preordering some titles from Amazon and that as of the writing of my message, I had already preordered more than 70 hardcovers at Amazon. Those were 70 book sales that B&N lost.

I still preorder books at B&N, but they are only editions I cannot get at Amazon. (I have been buying already published books at B&N, as well.) Perhaps if the new owners are serious about keeping B&N going, they will change this no-guarantee policy. Riggio certainly has been unreceptive. If not, I'll just keep preordering at Amazon.
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:12 AM   #13
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So sad. I haven't been to a book store in many years...but it's still sad.
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:27 AM   #14
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So sad. I haven't been to a book store in many years...but it's still sad.
I find it funny when people say that.... especially if they dont shop the physical stores anymore....
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Old 06-07-2019, 10:32 AM   #15
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It looks like it will go ahead

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/07/elli...3-million.html
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