It’s the talk of the publishing biz right now, but Publishers Weekly is the only place with a report on it: Is Borders actually attracting the interest of potential buyers?
Yes, says a PW report by Judith Rosen. Or at least, as she says in the report, “The chances that Borders may be sold as one business or piecemeal appears to becoming more of a possibility.”
Mind you, Rosen does not cite any specific interest at all — not only doesn’t she name any names, she doesn’t so much as hint at a specific interest or possibility — but she does say that the court has seemingly cleared the path in a way that apparently makes her optimistic, and at least resonates with the rumors MobyLives has been hearing. As she explains:
Last Friday was the deadline for the submission of bids to the company’s investment bankers and financial advisors, Jeffries & Company. Any bids would have to be approved by the Creditors Committee and the U.S. Trustee. In addition, at the hearing on May 11, Borders is asking the court’s approval to sell or transfer de minimus, or “surplus, non-core or burdensome,” assets clear and free of lien. These would be items going to a single buyer or group of buyers for million or less.
An example cited in the filing concerns property at the Northeast Distribution Center in Carlisle, Pa., which is slated to close soon. Borders says that it would cost too much to extend the lease on the center to give brokers and equipment liquidators the 75 to 90 days they would need for an onsite auction. In order to vacate in less than 30 days from closing, they want to be able to sell the equipment and other assets there themselves. They are also seeking to sell equipment and furniture in corporate headquarters.
Beyond that, according to Rosen, “So far only one objection has been raised. Verizon is concerned that Borders may try to sell equipment that it leased to them.”
Okay, so it’s a completely speculative story that doesn’t cite anything to justify its headline. It at least explains the possibility that that the chatter of the moment is feasible. What it doesn’t explain is why anyone would be crazy enough to buy a company so deeply mismanaged as Borders. (Hint: the non-executive staff.)