Barnes & Noble, being the largest bookstore chain in the United States, has had lasting power in an industry where its competitors have fallen to tech giants, namely Amazon. In the past decade, the company has been able to keep afloat by doubling down on supplying education clients and investing in its Nook and SparkNotes product lines, but it has straddled the line between profit and loss for the past decade. Today, multinational asset management firm Elliott has announced its intent to acquire the Barnes & Noble for approximately $683 million and has plans to invest.
Elliott Advisors, which manages the company's UK holdings, acquired that country's leading bookseller, Waterstones, last June. James Daunt, the company's CEO, will also take the same role at Barnes & Noble. Both companies will continue to operate independently. The American chain operates 627 locations.
Nook e-readers remain a prominent part of the company's business strategy and a decent head-to-head chip against Kobos and Amazon's Kindle devices, though there will be a sore need for innovation on literature technology.
The deal values Barnes & Noble shares at $6.50 and includes about $208 million in debt. BKS investors first heard murmurs about the deal Thursday afternoon and swung its stock price up from an intraday low of $4.19 to $5.95 at the close of trading. As of 1:03 p.m. PDT, shares were up another 11% today to $6.62.
The deal needs sign-off from regulators and shareholders. It is expected to close in the third quarter.