Borders to Books-A-Million deal falls through

A Books-A-Million deal to buy 30 Borders' stores – perhaps saving nearly 1,000 jobs – has stalled.

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    Although Books-A-Million will not be buying the 30 Borders stores it was considering, it may still buy a handful of leases at auction.
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After filing for bankruptcy in February, Borders has begun the process of liquidating their remaining 399 stores. Until yesterday there was some hope that Books-A-Million would step in to buy the leases and assets – including inventory – of 30 Borders stores. The Wall Street Journal estimates that close to 1,000 jobs would have been saved if Books-A-Million had been able to step in and continue operating those Borders outlets.

However, negotiations between Books-A-Million, Borders, and creditors reached a stalemate. “We worked exhaustively in an effort to acquire these stores and reach agreements with all of the parties whose consent was necessary,” Books-A-Million Chief Executive Officer Clyde B. Anderson said yesterday in a statement. “Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful.”

Bloomberg reports that the parties could not agree on satisfactory terms, and that going-out-of business sales were already occurring, selling off some of the inventory that Books-A-Million had wanted to buy.

Reports from The Wall Street Journal say that the remaining store leases will now be auctioned off, and that while Books-A-Million will not be buying the 30 stores it was considering, it may still buy a handful of leases at auction.

What this means is that Borders will continue having liquidation sales at all its stores; the 1,000 jobs that might have been saved will be lost; and that – depending on what happens at auction – other companies, potentially Books-A-Million or Barnes & Noble, could soon take up residence in some of the former Borders stores.

Megan Wasson is a Monitor contributor.

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