As expected, Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest brick-and-mortar bookstore, June 7 disclosed it is being acquired by Elliott Management Corp. for $683 million, including debt.
The private fund manager, which acquired Britain’s largest bookstore Waterstone in 2018, will return Barnes & Noble to privately-held status, ending Wall Street scrutiny on a company that has lost more than $1 billion in market value in the past five years.
Waterstone CEO James Daunt will manage Barnes & Noble operations as a separate entity.
Founded in 1965, Barnes & Noble, which includes the Nook tablet and digital media business, saw a 1.1% increase in same-store winter holiday sales, its best fiscal result in three years. At the same time, the company had just $15 million in available cash.
The company, like a lot of traditional retailers, has struggled to compete with ecommerce, notably Amazon. Indeed, the online retail behemoth reportedly accounts for about 50% of all book sales, with Walmart at 4.2%.
The deal is expected to close by the third quarter.