Barnes & Noble, Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by funds advised by Elliott Advisors (UK) Limited (“Elliott”) for $6.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $683 million, including the assumption of debt.
Elliott’s acquisition of Barnes & Noble, the largest retail bookseller in the United States, follows its June 2018 acquisition of Waterstones, the largest retail bookseller in the United Kingdom. James Daunt, CEO of Waterstones, will assume also the role of CEO of Barnes & Noble following the completion of the transaction and will be based in New York.
The announced transaction with Elliott is the culmination of an extensive Strategic Alternative Review conducted by the Special Committee of the Barnes & Noble Board of Directors, which was announced on October 3, 2018. The Board of Directors of Barnes & Noble unanimously approved the transaction and recommend the transaction to Barnes & Noble shareholders. Leonard Riggio, the Founder and Chairman of Barnes & Noble, has also entered into a voting agreement in support of the transaction.
Barnes & Noble serves 627 different communities across all 50 states, where it remains the #1 bookseller in the United States. Elliott seeks to build upon this strong foundation as it addresses the significant challenges facing the bricks and mortar book retail space, applying a model that successfully turned around Waterstones over the past decade.
Following the close of the transaction, Elliott will own both Barnes & Noble and Waterstones, and while each bookseller will operate independently, they will share a common CEO and benefit from the sharing of best practice between the companies. Waterstones has successfully restored itself to sales growth and sustainable profitability, based on a strategy of investment in their store estate and the empowerment of local bookselling teams. Under Daunt’s leadership and Elliott’s stewardship, this commitment to bookselling excellence will strengthen the ability of both companies to navigate with success a rapidly changing retail landscape.
In anticipation of his new CEO role at Barnes & Noble, James Daunt added, “I look forward greatly to working with the booksellers at Barnes & Noble. Physical bookstores the world over face fearsome challenges from online and digital. We meet these with investment and with all the more confidence for being able to draw on the unrivaled bookselling skills of these two great companies. As a place in which to choose a book, and for the sheer pleasure of visiting, we know that a good bookstore has no equal.”