Barnes & Noble had no interest in buying Borders outright, but it moved aggressively to acquire its intellectual property, paying $13.9 million to buy a cache of its former rival’s IP assets. In all, this week’s auction raised about $15.8 million that will go to Borders’s creditors. It wasn’t entirely clear what B&N acquired in the auction-- the results of which must be approved by the bankruptcy court—but it appears to have acquired most all of Borders’s domestic assets that includes its Internet domain names, the Borders.com Web site and such trademarks as Borders, Waldenbooks and Brentano’s. Earlier court documents also listed Borders’s membership lists, customer information, including contact information and e-mail addresses and other purchasing history and related information, as among the assets to be auctioned.
According to Hilco, which sold off the assets, B&N competed with booksellers, “major publishing companies and internet only retailers” in an auction that lasted 50 rounds. B&N’s victory assures the retailer that no competitor will emerge in the bookselling space using any of the Borders brand.
Other assets went to overseas parties that had operated Borders stores in different parts of the world: Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd. paid $450,000 for Borders trademarks in Australia and New Zealand; Popular Holdings Ltd. paid $100,000 for the Singapore trademarks; Berjaya Books paid $825,000 for trademarks in Malaysia; and Al Maya International paid $500,000 for trademarks in “certain Gulf countries including the United Arab Emirates.”
The court is expected to approve the sale September 20.