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面對亞馬遜的進攻,這家實體書店一直在苦苦支撐

處于困境中的全球最大書店連鎖又找到了新買家。

埃利奧特(Elliott Management Corp.)在上周五的聲明中表示,公司已經同意以全現金交易的方式收購巴諾連鎖書店(Barnes & Noble Inc.),按照每股6.5美元的價格,后者的估值為4.76億美元,此外還要加上債務估值。

巴諾書店的股價在當日的早盤交易中上漲8.4%至6.46美元。自上周四埃利奧特接近達成交易的消息傳出后,書店的股價已經飆升了30%。

由億萬富翁保羅·辛格經營的埃利奧特之前已經涉獵過圖書行業。去年,公司收購了英國的圖書零售商Waterstones。Waterstones的首席執行官詹姆斯·當特也將成為巴諾書店的首席執行官。埃利奧特會讓兩家書店獨立運營,不過兩個品牌會“共用一位首席執行官,并在兩家公司互相取長補短的過程中受益。”

公司表示,加上債務,這次并購的估值為6.83億美元。

擁有超過600家門店的巴諾書店嘗試過出售食品和咖啡、銷售非圖書商品等策略,但依舊無法阻止亞馬遜(Amazon.com Inc.)的步步緊逼。在此過程中,公司還自斷手臂,遭遇了內部風波。它對亞馬遜Fire平板電腦的競爭對手Nook電子書的大筆投資最終一敗涂地。

不過,面對亞馬遜的無情競爭,巴諾書店在過去幾年里還是設法讓自己的業務站穩了腳跟,去年書店收入的下滑幅度減少到了3.1%。它仍然有營收能力,去年的銷售額高達近36億美元,而稍有些夸張的債務直到2023年才到償付期限。公司過去幾年里也在關閉表現疲軟的門店,或把它們遷到更好的地段。

當特在聲明中表示:“世界上的實體書店都面臨著網絡和數字領域的可怕競爭。我們將以投資和更強大的信心來應對它們,因為我們現在有這兩家偉大公司無與倫比的圖書銷售技巧作為憑依。”

聲明中指出,公司最大的股東、董事長倫納德·瑞吉歐已經達成了支持交易的投票協議。早在去年10月,巴諾書店就表示在考慮將自身出售給幾家感興趣的買家,其中就包括瑞吉歐。瑞吉歐曾經表示過收購興趣,不過隨后退出。(財富中文網)

譯者:嚴匡正

Elliott Management Corp. agreed to purchase the chain for $6.50 per share in an all-cash transaction valued about $476 million, plus the assumption of debt, the company said in a statement last Friday.

Barnes & Noble shares rose 8.4% to $6.46 in early trading. They had surged 30% on last Thursday on news that Elliott was close to a deal.

Elliott, run by the billionaire Paul Singer, has experience in the book business. It acquired Waterstones, a U.K. book retailer, last year. James Daunt, chief executive officer of Waterstones, will also become CEO of Barnes & Noble. Elliott will keep the chains operating independently but the brands will “share a common CEO and benefit from the sharing of best practice between the companies.”

Including debt, the deal is valued at $683 million, according to the companies.

Barnes & Noble, with more than 600 stores, has tried strategies such as offering food and coffee and selling non-book merchandise, but has failed to stem the onslaught of Amazon.com Inc. Along the way, it’s weathered self-inflicted wounds and internal drama. A big investment in its Nook e-book device — a competitor for Amazon’s Fire tablets — was ultimately a bust.

Despite the relentless competition from Amazon, Barnes & Noble has managed to somewhat stabilize its business over the past few years, with revenue declines narrowing to a drop of 3.1% last year. The retailer still generates cash — sales were almost $3.6 billion last year — and the little outstanding debt on its balance sheet isn’t due until 2023. The company has also spent the past few years closing weak stores or moving them to better locations.

“Physical bookstores the world over face fearsome challenges from online and digital,” Daunt said in a statement. “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.”

Chairman Leonard Riggio, the company’s largest shareholder, has entered into a voting agreement in support of the transaction, according to the statement. In October, the company said it was considering a sale to several interested parties, including Riggio. Riggio had previously expressed interest in buying Barnes & Noble but later withdrew.

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