Is a bidding war breaking out for Barnes & Noble? According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Readerlink is considering putting together a bid to top the $6.50 per share offer made by Elliott Advisors. Readerlink had previously been reported as having an interest in buying the bookstore chain. No parties connected to the B&N-Readerlink deal would comment on the report.
Under the direction of Dennis Abboud, Readerlink has moved aggressively to consolidate its position as the largest distributor of books to a wide range on non-bookstore accounts, including Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, warehouse clubs, drugstores, and food stores. The purchase of B&N would add a completely new dimension to Readerlink.
It is assumed Readerlink has until the the end of June 13 to make a new offer. According to a securities filing, the merger agreement between B&N with Elliott contains a “keep-shop” provision specifying that if B&N strikes a deal with a third party before 11:59 p.m. ET on June 13, Elliott would be entitled to a payment of up to $4 million. After that date, the breakup fee would be $17.5 million in cash.
B&N's stock price has benefited tremendously from the purchase efforts. On May 30, its shares were trading at $4.31 per share and rose to $5.96 on June 6 following the report of Elliott's offer. With the report that Readerlink will still make a play for the bookstore chain, B&N's stock price closed at $6.80 per share at the end of trading on June 10.