Barnes & Noble Inc. is seeking to buy the remaining outstanding shares of Barnes & Noble.com, turning the e-tailer into a private subsidiary, a move the company said will cut costs and enable it to strengthen the Barnes & Noble brand. "Rather than what we've had in the past, which is a Barnes & Noble bookstore and a Barnes & Noble.com Web site, the new paradigm will be, 'Barnes & Noble booksellers—we deliver,' " said Larry Zilavy, executive v-p, corporate finance and strategic planning.
Taking the company private should save about $2 million a year, Zilavy said. That includes the costs of having a separate board of directors and other expenses related to running a public corporation such as insurance and filing documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission. But Zilavy said saving money is a secondary goal. And he maintains the move won't result in significant changes to the management structure of B&N.com.
B&N already owns 75% of the e-tailer's stock, having purchased Bertelsmann's 37% stake in the company in September. Under the deal proposed by B&N, the company would pay about $115 million to purchase the rest of the stock at $2.50 a share. The stock opened at $2.75 share this morning. After the offer was made public Friday morning, B&N.com's share rose to as high as $2.89 per share as investors speculated that B&N may need to up its offer for the e-tailer.
Company executives expect the deal to close by the first quarter of its next fiscal year, which begins in February 2004.