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.