Chairman of Barnes & Noble Wants to Buy Retail Side of the Chain
It seems like every week we hear something different about the future of Barnes & Noble. The latest twist in the tale was revealed in a regulatory filing on Monday by B&Ns founder and Chairman, Leonard Riggio, indicating “he wants to acquire the company's stores and website, but not the business that makes the Nook eReader or the company's college bookstores.”
And it’s true, Barnes & Noble have been struggling in recent years to find their feet in a market that seems to be changing every minute. Riggio’s plan is just the latest case of a founder buying back, or trying to buy back, the company they set up, and trying to improve the business — without the interference of shareholders.
'When you've got control outside public eye or public market, you can invest and translate your strategy at your own pace,' said Peter Wahlstrom, analyst at Morningstar. 'It's him believing he can run it better by himself without the distraction of the digital side. He believes the brand has value that's not being recognized by investors.'
Riggio’s decision to move away from the Nook could be a good business decision, as it’s not been doing very well in the face of increasing tablet sales and a shift away from dedicated eReaders. It also reflects his intent to focus on the retail side which, while showing falling sales, is still profitable. No price (or timetable for the sale) has been agreed yet, but apparently he’s “making the offer in order to facilitate the company's review of its strategic options for separating its Nook business.”
Would selling off the Nook be such a bad thing for the chain? Maybe a company concentrating on the eReader platform by itself could help it — and allow Riggio to put his energy into retail.
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