Barnes & Noble, the lone remaining major brick-and-mortar bookseller, has received an acquisition offer. The potential buyer, G Asset Management, is proposing a 51% stake in either Barnes & Noble proper, or their Nook division. The offers add an interesting wrinkle to an already opaque future for the bookseller and its digital spinoff.
Barnes & Noble has been in trouble for some time, with hopes Nook would revive their brand as well as create a digital reader following. As eReaders gave way to tablets, Nook followed suit, but failed to really catch on with consumers. Recent news of management shakeups and employees leaving Nook has dogged their move toward a brighter day.
G asset is no stranger to Barnes & Noble, even if we’ve not heard of them. They’ve tried to drive a wedge between the bookseller and their Nook division prior to this offer, and tried to make a play as far back as 2012. In 2013, there were both external and internal forces at work, trying to split the bookseller from its digital self.
Barnes & Noble acknowledges the offer was made, but says they have nothing to say in response. CNBC notes the bookseller is poised to report earnings next week, so we could be looking at a Blackberry situation. If you recall, their buyout offer just prior to their earnings call meant they could cancel such an event. G assets has offered $22/share, up from a previous offer of $20 share last year. As for Nook, they’re willing to go as high as $5/share. A $22/share offer would value Barnes & Noble at $1.32 billion