Speculation that James Daunt will be brought in to run US bookseller
News broke the afternoon of 6 June that private equity firm Elliott Management was close to acquiring Barnes & Noble - but no one at the company was willing to comment on the rumour. The bookstore chain had formed a committee to study the possibility of selling the company after a proposed deal with WH Smith collapsed last spring.
According to the Financial Times, Elliott is offering $6.50 per share, making the value of the deal about $476 million. B&N’s stock price opened at $4.59 per share before trading started Thursday morning.
News of the Elliott deal was first reported by the Wall Street Journal, and reports say the deal might still not be completed. If the deal does go through, it will be the second bookstore chain Elliott has bought in little more than a year, following the April purchase of the UK chain Waterstones. As word of the possibly purchase by Elliott spread, speculation mounted that Elliott would bring in Waterstones head James Daunt to run the company. Daunt has been given high marks for turning the chain around, but earlier this spring store employees mounted a campaign asking Waterstones management to pay a living wage.
Elliott, which is run by Paul Singer, manages about $34 billion in assets and has a staff of 464 people, according to its website.