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by M.G. Siegler


Barnes & Noble Bought Out of the Bargain Bin by a Hedge Fund

Cara Lombardo and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg on the $475.8 million deal:

The acquisition wouldn’t be the first foray into bookstores for Elliott, which bought U.K. book chain Waterstones last year. Should Elliott prevail, the $35 billion New York hedge fund is likely to maintain Barnes & Noble and Waterstones as two separate companies with Waterstones Chief Executive James Daunt leading both, some of the people said. Mr. Daunt declined to comment.

At first glance, this sounds like sad — more pathetic, less sad, really — but actually, the involvement of Daunt actually makes this seem like really good news for B&N. Daunt Books is one of the best bookshops in the world, and Daunt himself has turned around Waterstones in impressive fashion. 

B&N has a long, sort of strange history. And I have mixed feelings about it as well: I grew up going to one with my father on a weekly basis. But that was mainly because it had run most of the local bookshops out of business. If it wasn’t quite the Blockbuster Video decimating local video stores in the 1990s, it was close. And yet it ultimately has met a similar fate — though not nearly as bad. Thanks to that other behemoth… Meanwhile, small bookstores, like Daunt, are thriving again.


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