This Friday activist firm Elliott Management announced their plans to acquire bookselling company Barnes & Noble, for approximately $683 million.
Barnes & Noble have had severe problems in the book market for a long time, so this news comes as no surprise. Their biggest rival, Amazon, holds almost half of all new book sales, and Walmart has control of 4.2% of the market. Before this news had become available, Barnes & Noble shares had fallen by 25%, but are now up by 10%, to a $6.56 per share cost. In the past five years, Barnes & Noble market value has dropped by $1 billion.
Last year, Barnes & Noble, including Leonard Riggio, who founded Barnes & Noble in 1965, said that they were looking into a sale to try to turn their financial situation around. In March, Barnes & Noble reported that they had their best performance in over three years – with a 1.1% increase during that quarter.
Elliott Management, which was founded and is led by billionaire Paul Singer, also acquired Waterstones, the largest bookseller in Britain, last year. Elliott Management has the bad reputation of a vulture fund, and industry experts say that owning these two booksellers could be their way of leveraging book publishers into complying with their plans.
James Daunt, Waterstones CEO, will serve as the chief executive overseer of both companies, though Elliott Management says these two retailers will be operated independently of one another.
This acquisition deal, which is going to be a merger, is probably going to take place in the third quarter of 2019.