Confirmed: Barnes & Noble to be Acquired by the Hedge Fund that Owns Waterstones

For the longest time now it’s looked like Barnes & Noble, with no savior in sight, was going to be killed by the current management.

Now a potential savior has stepped forward. The WSJ reports that the hedge fund Elliott Management Corp is the lead bidder in an auction to acquire B&N. This is the same hedge fund that acquired a controlling interest in Waterstones last spring.

Update: CNBC says B&N is being acquired by Elliot for $683 million.

This is still in the rumor stage, but they’re saying that a deal could be struck in the next few days. Should Elliott win the auction, James Daunt, founder of Daunt Books and CEO of Waterstones, would take over management of Barnes & Noble.

I hope this rumor comes true; it would mean that B&N had a better than even chance of getting turned around. Daunt has turned around Waterstones, so if there is anyone who could rescue B&N, it would be him.

Of course, it also means that B&N would quickly sell off the Nook, probably to Kobo.  That division is a loser, and the new management is going to get rid of it ASAP.

Barnes & Noble currently operates over 600 stores and had a stock market capitalization of around $336 million as of Wednesday evening. The stock price is currently trading up 31%, at $6.03.

image by Tools of Men via Flickr


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Xaver Basora7 June, 2019


    Interesting. As a registered of the Nook account and Kobo I wonder if the latter will give us a credit or some other perks.
    I’d love to get my hands on some Nook books I can’t get due to licensing


  2. Will Entrekin7 June, 2019

    So the big five publishers are all owned by giant conglomerates like Macmillan and Hachette, with the two major bookstores now being owned by a single hedge fund —

    And Amazon’s “monopoly” is the big challenge facing reading and selling books?

  3. Chuck Dee7 June, 2019

    Why couldn’t they turn it around? I don’t get why they’d sell to Kobo- it’s not the fault of the device that its been a dud, but the fault of management.

    1. Apparition7 June, 2019

      They’ll sell to Kobo because that’s exactly what Waterstones did after James Daunt took control of it. By all accounts, he’s pretty pro-printed books and anti-eBooks.

  4. Chuck Dee7 June, 2019

    Waterstones only had an ebook storefront, not a reader. Hopefully, if they do sell, they’ll do as well as they did for Waterstone in the way of customers. Even though I’ve backed up my library, if they just abandon it or give some half-assed solution, I’d be done with B&N.

    1. Nate Hoffelder7 June, 2019

      I think it would be better to say that Waterstones was leasing an ebook storefront from OverDrive, which is why all they really had to sell was their customer list.

      Nook is considerably more substantial, and it can’t be sold off as easily.

  5. Frank7 June, 2019

    The sale is official today. It was for 683 million.

  6. Frank7 June, 2019

    Due to the necessary regulatory and shareholder approval, the deal will not be final until the third quarter.

  7. Allen F9 June, 2019

    If it doesn’t die in discovery, no bets on B&N not having a poisoned chalice in the closet. 😉

  8. […] news broke in June that B&N had been acquired by the same hedge fund that owned Waterstones, it seemed likely that the first thing to go would be […]

  9. […] not be hosting a conference call this quarter to discuss the results. They’ve pointed at the Elliott deal as their […]


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