Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Will Barnes & Noble buy Borders? (volume 2)

I was going to call it "part 2", but given that it's bookstores we're discussing, "volume 2" seemed more appropriate.

About six weeks ago, when the rumors first arose, I mentioned the possibility that B&N might be interested in buying their main competitor. The rumor mill has heated up this week:

... Barnes & Noble may finally get ready to purchase Borders Group.

Investors, thrilled by the prospect of the two mega-sellers joining forces, pushed Borders Group shares up 11.3%, or 72 cents, to $7.07, in afternoon trading.

If Barnes & Noble does purchase Borders, the companies would face anti-trust hearings since the combined company would have more than a third of the market share.
Presumably this merger would get a lot of scrutiny from Washington. I reported a couple weeks ago that the FTC is still fighting the Whole Foods/Wild Oats merger, even after it was approved by the courts.

It's hard to see Borders surviving on their own, though. After giving it some thought, I realize now that this is really a variation on the traditional two-per-channel theme -- the two in this channel are B&N and Amazon, with Borders being third (and therefore probably doomed).

No comments: