One of the most likely buyers, according to reports, is Barnes & Noble Executive Chairman Leonard Riggio, who has a 19.2% stake in the company. But that shouldn't stop Amazon from looking at the books of the erm ... bookseller.
Amazon could take all of Barnes & Noble's inventory and put it all on its website, taking the final slice of the market for books that BKS had. It wouldn't be a groundbreaking move, but why let some other company compete in selling books online? Why not just take the books?
The second question is feasibility. What really makes this a no-brainer in my eyes is that Barnes & Noble is obviously a small company now, with a market cap of $398.68 million. Amazon has about $20 billion in cash on hand. Assuming a roughly 20% premium, Amazon could buy the struggling book retailer for around $477 million.
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The last question is what do Barnes & Noble shareholders want? They want the best deal, and if Amazon really wants to buy it can easily outbid Riggio, who has a net worth of far less than $1 billion. We'll have to see what other bidders are out there, as The Wall Street Journal mentioned there could be others, but Amazon's deep pockets are an advantage.
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One thing Amazon possibly could want to avoid is any real estate owned by Barnes & Noble. If Amazon bought Barnes & Noble, it does have a few options as to what to do with the real estate. But whatever it does, Amazon would have to sell at least a large chunk of it. That's quite a project, as vetting for a buyer takes time, and Amazon wants to focus on selling products on its platform, not real estate it inherited. Therefore, Amazon could just buy the inventory of Barnes & Noble if the shareholders decide to liquidate all the assets to various buyers, rather than to explore an outright sale of the company to one buyer.
But Barnes & Noble shareholders might get more money just selling the company, which is why Amazon may want to make a bid if it's interested taking another slice of the book market.