A rumor went around yesterday that B&N is working with an investment banker to find a buyer for the ailing retailer.
The rumor has already been denied by B&N, and according to Benzinga:
Dealreporter sources allegedly said Barnes & Noble had been working with financial adviser Guggenheim Securities for six months as it interacted with multiple potential buyers, including Apollo Global Management APO and Platinum Equity.
However, a Barnes & Noble spokesperson told Benzinga the company is not presently engaged in a sales process.
Small inaccuracies in the story merit further suspicion of the rumor's veracity.
For one, Barnes & Noble’s relationship with Guggenheim is not new; it has worked with the investment banker since at least 2013. Additionally, despite Debtwire reports that the company is looking to sell its real estate, a recent 10-K filing confirmed that Barnes & Noble leases rather than owns all but one of its stores.
Okay, so B&N has already denied the rumor, so the odds are good that it is at least mostly false.
The reason I am qualifying that conclusion is that the original source for the story, DealReporter, was also the first to report in 2014 that B&N was going to spin off Nook Media. They reported it as a rumor two months before the official announcement.
So there could be a story here.
Is B&N trying to sell itself? Probably not; the first thing potential buyers would ask is whether B&N has a plan to survive Amazon, and Barnes & Noble doesn't have an answer. (It's not just that they can't articulate a response; they actually do not know how they are going to survive.)
So even if B&N were going to sell itself, no one in their right mind would want to buy them.
Still, I think there could be a story here.
The only question is, what is the real story?
image by Angel Xavier Viera