ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
87°
Partly Cloudy
H 86° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    87°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    77°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 86° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    87°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 89° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Business
Barnes & Noble, with sales falling, is sold to hedge fund
Close

Barnes & Noble, with sales falling, is sold to hedge fund

Barnes & Noble, with sales falling, is sold to hedge fund
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File
FILE - This Aug. 31, 2017 file photo, shows a Barnes and Noble Booksellers store in Pittsburgh. The beleaguered bookseller is being sold to Elliott Management Corp. in a $476 million deal. Elliott will pay $6.50 per share. That’s an approximately 9% percent premium to the company’s Thursday closing price of $5.96. The transaction is valued at about $683 million, including debt. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Barnes & Noble, with sales falling, is sold to hedge fund

Barnes & Noble is being acquired by a hedge fund for $476 million and will be taken private.

The national chain that many blamed for the demise of independent bookstores has been ravaged by Amazon.com and other online sellers, but remains a critical outlet for publishers.

On Friday, it was acquired by Elliott Management and, in a twist, will likely become a national chain with a business model more akin to that of a local bookstore.

Elliott bought Waterstones one year ago, a national U.K. book chain that has successfully navigated through the online/e-reader revolution by returning a lot of autonomy to the managers of its nearly 300 stores, who can select books that they believe local readers want.

The man who runs that U.K. chain, who will become CEO of Barnes & Noble, said that is what he has in mind for Barnes & Noble.

Leonard Riggio acquired the century old Barnes & Noble in the 1970s, including its flagship Manhattan store, in the 1970s. He pursued aggressive expansion throughout the 1980s and established Barnes & Noble as a national phenomenon with the acquisition of B. Dalton Bookseller and its 797 locations in 1987. It became the nation's second-largest bookseller and began selling books online in partnership with IBM and Sears.

The company continued to gobble up other larger booksellers like Doubleday Book Shops and also BookStop, which ran discount superstores in Texas.

By 1993, Barnes & Noble was a publicly traded company that was upending the publishing industry.

The company tried to ride the digital transformation of books, rolling out its own e-reader, the Nook, in 2009 and offering more than a million books on its website.

But Amazon.com, which began as an online market place for books, was relentless and its Kindle e-reader is dominant today. The company has cut into sales of both Barnes & Noble and independent book sellers alike.

Last year, Riggio was brought on stage by Oren Teicher for BookExpo 2018 in New York City.

Teicher heads the American Booksellers Association, the group representing independent book shops, and a bitter rival of Barnes & Noble.

"Today, we stand together in common cause to promote and support bricks-and-mortar bookstores," said Teicher. "I've been quoted as saying that it's in the long-term interest of the overall book business that Barnes & Noble not just survive but grow and prosper."

But Barnes & Noble has suffered.

With about 630 retail stores in the U.S. as of last year, it is smaller than when it acquired of B. Dalton Bookseller in the late 1980s. Its revenue peaked in 2012, and it has fallen every year since.

To reverse that decline, new CEO James Daunt will try to replicate what Waterstones has done in Britain.

His main goal is to have each Barnes & Noble store be more tailored to the local market, rather than operate as a massive homogenous chain.

"In chain bookselling, you need to try and get the best store for each location," Daunt told The Associated Press. "What works in Jacksonville, Florida, isn't necessarily going to work in Hawaii."

And he sees advantages for Barnes and Noble in the fight with Amazon, where the customer interaction is limited to buying things online.

Waterstones organizes multiple, simultaneous events at its stores, making them "a "fun place to discover books and enjoy the particularities of a bookstore."

Elliott will pay $6.50 for each share of Barnes & Noble, an approximately 9% percent premium to the company's Thursday closing stock price

The sale, valued at about $683 million including debt, is targeted to close in the third quarter if approved by regulators and shareholders.

After that remains a long road to recovery, if that's even possible. Some industry watchers are skeptical, including Mike Shatzkin, the CEO of Idea Logical Company, a book-industry consulting company.

He called the entire large-store model for any retail chain "a 20th century concept" extinguished by the internet.

"It doesn't surprise me that Barnes and Noble's management never came to that conclusion because they built their fortune building bigger stores," he said. "And I'm not sure Waterstone's is going to lead them to a different approach."

However, retailers like Target and Walmart have done so successfully, in part by using their brick and mortar stores as launching points for fast delivery for things bought online.

Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • A two month, multi-agency investigation has ended with the arrests of two suspects involved in a Romanian skimming ring that affected nearly 400 residents across Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia.   Specifically, more than 80 Putnam County residents were affected with more than 300 others in areas like Jacksonville, Keystone Heights, Newberry, and into Southeast Georgia. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office plans to release further details on Monday, June 17th, but WOKV has learned the identities of the two suspects arrested.  Arrest reports from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office identify the two as 35-year-old Elena Matei and 18-year-old Plopsor Matei.  Both are facing a variety of charges, from using or possessing a skimming device to bank fraud.  While the arrest reports are heavily redacted, it does show Capital City Bank told investigators they’ve had to reimburse their customers about $46, 360 due to cards being compromised due to skimmers. The reports also show that SunTrust Bank told investigators it is at a loss of $6,230. The Putnam County Sheriff's Office says in addition to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the US Secret Service, the Florida Highway Patrol, the Clay County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the North Florida Financial Crimes Task Force also helped with the investigation.
  • A 16-year-old Indiana boy died Wednesday when he and his father were robbed during an arranged meetup with someone they’d met through an online sales app, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news Gary police and the Lake County Coroner’s Office told the Chicago Sun-Times that Johnny Peluyera, of Merrillville, Indiana, and his father had arranged to sell an Xbox. After arriving at the meetup location, they were robbed by two men, the newspaper reported. Authorities responded around 6 p.m. Wednesday to reports of the shooting, which took place near the intersection of 51st Avenue and Maryland Street, according to the Post-Tribune. In a statement obtained by the northwest Indiana newspaper, Gary police Cmdr. Jack Hamady said Johnny was reportedly sitting in the front passenger side of his father’s vehicle when he was shot in the back. The robbers fled the area and remained at-large Friday. “I just completely don’t understand,” Johnny’s mother, Kelly Arroyo, told WGN-TV. “I don’t understand how somebody – over an Xbox – can take somebody’s life.” Arroyo described her son to WGN-TV as a “wonderful kid who loved video games and cars.” She said he had recently gotten his driver’s license. Johnny is survived by his parents and a sister, according to WGN-TV. Gary police told the Post-Tribune that online buyers and sellers should only agree to meet in public places, such in a police station parking lot. Authorities continue to investigate.
  • A day after the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced an arrest in the murder of a Westside grandmother, the suspect's arrest report is revealing new disturbing details. According to 24-year-old Darnell Johnson's arrest report, a family member cited concerns about his behavior around the same time as Shirley Blakely’s death.  The report says the individual had called police about Johnson and was attempting to have him 'Baker Acted', but Johnson left before that could happen. She told police that he had been pacing the floor, talking about the neighbor putting 'Voodoo' on him, just prior to him leaving.  The individual told police she then went driving around looking for Johnson. The report says he was eventually found behind Blakely’s residence.  Johnson has denied any involvement in Blakely's death, according to the report. WOKV told you last week that Blakely’s family said the man responsible for her murder believed he had been ‘cursed.’
  • Four times more people in twice as many states have been infected with salmonella in less than a month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta reported this week. The CDC has linked the infections to contact with backyard poultry, namely chickens and ducklings. >> Read more trending news On May 16, 52 people in 21 states had been infected, the CDC announced. On Thursday, the CDC said 227 more people in 20 additional states have been added to its investigation. Four salmonella serotypes have also been added. Of the 279 now infected, 40 have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported. Seventy cases affect children younger than 5, the CDC said. >> Salmonella outbreak in 21 states linked to backyard poultry; don’t kiss the chickens, CDC warns So far, infections have been found in all states except Georgia, Alaska, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and North Dakota. In interviews, people said they got their chicks and ducklings from agricultural stores, websites and hatcheries. This is not the first time a salmonella outbreak has been linked to our feathered friends. In July 2018, the CDC discovered 212 salmonella cases in 44 states linked to backyard poultry. >> Stop kissing, snuggling pet hedgehogs, CDC warns There are many ways people can be infected by fowl.  Poultry might have salmonella germs in their droppings, and on their feathers, feet and beaks, even when they appear healthy and clean, the CDC states on its website. The germs can get on cages, coops, feed and water dishes, hay, plants and soil. Germs also can get on the hands, shoes and clothes of people who handle or care for poultry. >> CDC warns consumers not to wash raw chicken Infection can be prevented, however. The CDC recommends the following safety tips: Always wash your hands with soap and water right after touching backyard poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Adults should supervise hand-washing by young children. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available.  Don’t let backyard poultry inside the house, especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served or stored.  Set aside a pair of shoes to wear while taking care of poultry and keep those shoes outside of the house.  Children younger than 5, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems shouldn’t handle or touch chicks, ducklings or other poultry.  Don’t eat or drink where poultry live or roam.  Don’t kiss backyard poultry or snuggle them and then touch your face or mouth.  Stay outdoors when cleaning any equipment or materials used to raise or care for poultry, such as cages, or feed or water containers. For a complete list of recommendations, visit the CDC’s website.
  • President Donald Trump said Friday that he has no plans to fire White House counselor Kellyanne Conway despite a recommendation from a federal watchdog agency. >> Read more trending news “I’m not going to fire her,” the president said Friday in an interview “Fox and Friends” on Fox News. “I think she’s a terrific person. She’s a tremendous spokesperson. She’s been loyal. ... Based on what I saw yesterday, how could you do that?” In a letter sent Thursday to Trump, officials with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel detailed several instances in which Conway attacked Trump’s Democratic rivals in the 2020 presidential race on social media and in official interviews, which is a violation of the Hatch Act. The law bars federal officials from using their offices to campaign for political candidates. >> Federal watchdog recommends Kellyanne Conway be fired for Hatch Act violations “It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech and that’s just not fair,” Trump said Friday. “It doesn’t sound fair so I’m going to look at it very carefully.” The president framed Conway’s violations of the Hatch Act as necessary in response to criticism of him or in response to questions from the media. “You ask a person a question and every time you’re supposed to say, ‘I can’t answer, I can’t answer,’” Trump said. “I mean, she’s got to have a right of responding to questions.” The White House counsel issued a letter Thursday calling for the Office of Special Counsel to rescind the recommendation, though the agency declined, according to The Washington Post. Special counsel Henry Kerner told the newspaper his recommendation was “unprecedented,” but he added that Conway’s conduct was as well. “In interview after interview, she uses her official capacity to disparage announced candidates, which is not allowed,” he told the Post. “What kind of example does that send to the federal workforce? If you’re high enough up in the White House, you can break the law, but if you’re a postal carrier or a regular federal worker, you lose your job?” Kerner told Fox News the decision on whether to fire Conway ultimately falls to the president. “We respect his decision and, of course, the president has any option he’d like — to reprimand or not to reprimand,” Kerner said, according to the news network. “I am a Trump appointee — I have no animus toward Kellyanne whatsoever. ... My job is to make sure the federal workforce stays as depoliticized and as fair as possible.” >> Conway accused of Hatch Act violation; what is the Hatch Act? In its 17-page report, the Office of Special Counsel noted that Conway minimized the significance of the Hatch Act during a May 29 interview. “If you're trying to silence me through the Hatch Act, it's not going to work,' she said, according to The Hill. Later, she added, 'Let me know when the jail sentence starts.

The Latest News Videos