Borders and Barnes & Noble, together at last? Experts skeptical
The concept of Ann Arbor-based Borders Group Inc. acquiring Barnes & Noble, resulting in a single super-sized book store chain with increased purchasing power and a competitive edge in the marketplace, is drawing skepticism from industry experts and media.
New York hedge fund manager Bill Ackman filed a document with the Securities and Exchange Commission saying he'd be willing to help Borders finance an acquisition of Barnes & Noble. Investors applauded the prospect of a deal, sending both stocks skyward.
But several experts expressed skepticism for several reasons. Here's a roundup of the reaction to the proposed deal:
Wall Street Journal: The Deal Journal blog suggests there are "three huge problems" with the proposed merger -- the long-term financial problems of both retailers, Ackman's financial interests and a reluctance of Barnes & Noble founder Len Riggio to loosen his grip on the company.
DailyFinance.com: Publishing industry writer Sarah Weinman says the acquisition bid was implausible and would fail. "In the end, Borders making a play for B&N makes sense only if you prefer your business news to resemble a reality TV show. It's not a serious overture, and even if it is, it would be difficult, and not economically feasible, for B&N to accept a bid from a company they've repeatedly said no to in the past," Weinman writes.
Photo by Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
Bloomberg: Standard & Poors analyst Michael Souers says Borders would be too big of a burden for Barnes & Noble to bear. "The cost of reducing stores and head count would be prohibitive," Souers says.
Fortune: Term Sheet writer Dam Primack suggests that the fact that Amazon.com's stock didn't flinch on news of the merger indicates that "Amazon shareholders no longer consider Borders and Barnes & Noble to be serious competition ... whether alone or together."