About five or six years ago there was a popular drunk take that Walmart should buy Barnes & Noble as a bulwark against Amazon.
I call it a drunk take because you would have to be drunk to think Walmart should buy a struggling company that was weak in two areas Amazon was strong (online sales and book sales) and expect Walmart could use the struggling company to compete against Amazon.
Now there’s a new drunk take on Barnes & Noble, one that makes as little sense as before.
It is now the consensus of the penny-a-pundit crowd that Amazon should buy Barnes & Noble.
- Amazon Killed Barnes & Noble, Now It Should Buy It (The Street)
- Why Amazon Should Buy Barnes & Noble (Media Play News)
- Why Amazon Could Buy Barnes & Noble (Seeking Alpha)
None of the clickbait could offer a good reason why Amazon should buy B&N; the justifications included real estate, good will, Amazon could sell B&N’s existing stock through its website, and because Amazon has $20 billion in cash while B&N would only cost half a billion.
These pieces also neglected to even mention the antitrust complication, although the Seeking Alpha piece did remind us why B&N is in a precarious state:
I think Barnes & Noble will run out of cash this holiday season because it reported just $11.19 million in cash and equivalents on October 27, 2018.
If B&N has a bad holiday season, they will find borrowing more money next to impossible (who would want to throw good money after bad?). And I (and a lot of B&N employees) expect B&N to have a worse than usual holiday season, resulting in a crisis in early January.
It will be up to B&N’s creditors to decide if they want to save the company. These are mostly the same book publishers who decided Borders wasn’t worth saving in 2011, and the only thing that has changed in the past 8 years is that the publishers need B&N even less now than they needed Borders then.
Right now a buyer is B&N’s best shot at survival, but who is going to want to buy them?
Certainly not Amazon.