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Book Wholesaler Trying To Outbid Hedge Fund For Barnes & Noble


Barnes & Noble may not be such old news after all.

Readerlink, which distributes books to non-bookstore retailers such as Target and Walmart, is attempting to raise funds to outbid hedge fund Elliott Management for Barnes & Noble, the Wall Street Journal reports. Barnes & Noble announced on Friday an agreement for Elliott Management to acquire a controlling stake in the bookstore worth $475M, or $6.50/share, at a 9% premium to the public share price.

Upon news of the acquisition, Barnes & Noble's share price rose higher than Elliott's agreed-upon price, to a peak of $6.80/share, the WSJ reports. Readerlink is apparently among those who believe in the retailer enough to pay more than Elliott, but the clock is ticking for it to do so.

Under the terms of Friday's agreement, Elliott would be owed up to $4M if Barnes & Noble goes to a higher bidder by 11:59 P.M. ET on Thursday. After that deadline, Elliott's fee would spike to over $17M, according to the WSJ. Readerlink reportedly is considering a partnership with an equity provider to come up with the required funds.

Elliott, run by the controversial Paul Singer, already owns what some consider to be the U.K.'s version of Barnes & Noble in Waterstones. If Elliott's acquisition goes through, it would install Waterstones CEO James Daunt to manage B&N while keeping its brand intact.

Readerlink has reportedly been circling Barnes & Noble since the retailer put itself on the market in October, perhaps sensing an opportunity to increase efficiency through its established supply chain.