Following Thursday's meeting between publishers and Borders, publishers went back to crunch numbers to see if accepting Borders' offer is better than allowing the retailer to slip into Chapter 11. Also on Thursday, Borders confirmed that it eliminated 15 field manager positions.
The meeting provided a little more new information, but the basic offer to publishers--exchanging the missed payments for what is believed to be a three-year note--was unchanged. The turnaround plan was basically what has been in the press or in Borders' SEC filings--cut expenses, improve marketing, restructure its finances and look into the possible sale of assets. The most newsworthy item is that Borders is said to need a decision from publishers before the end of the month--before it's next check is due and before the end of its fiscal year.
While Borders was negotiating, it confirmed another move that it says, while aimed at cutting costs, is not related to its new financing efforts. The official statement regarding the cuts reads: “As part of its brand transformation process, which includes enhanced cost efficiencies measures, Borders Group today eliminated 15 positions within its field organization. The number includes 9 regional merchandising manager, four event marketing manager and two district manager positions. The affected employees are being offered, in some cases, an alternative position, while the rest of the employees will receive severance in accordance with company policy. The decision to eliminate these positions is not related to Borders’ previously reported refinancing effort or the delay of certain vendor payments in connection with the refinancing effort.”