Saturday, October 1, 2011

Barnes & Noble Email

Barnes & Noble's Union Square store in Manhatt...

I woke up this morning to find an email from Barnes & Noble informing me that...

"As part of Borders ceasing operations, we acquired some of its assets including Borders brand trademarks and their customer list. The subject matter of your DVD and other video purchases will be part of the transferred information. The federal bankruptcy court approved this sale on September 26, 2011."

It's not clear what if anything B&N acquired beyond the items listed explicitly in the above statement.

When I read something like that I start to wonder what the thinking was behind the acquisition of the assets. Why DVD and Video purchase information in particular? Did they bid on other items and lose, did they actually win and choose not to disclose? I'd expect this information to be a matter of public record but if it is, I can't find any reference on line right now so I'm going to have to do a lot of speculating. That's pretty much par for the course though so onward.

The acquisition of the brands and trademarks were probably a defensive move. The email did include the Borders logo at the bottom but I suspect that was done in an attempt to smooth the transition by providing a visual reference with the B&N and Borders logos together. For now you can see the image below this text and before the next paragraph. There is no telling how long B&N will make it available though.

In the longer term I don't think we'll see much if any additional mention of Borders. Acquiring the name and marks was likely a defensive move to prevent somebody else from picking them up and possibly providing continued competition to B&N. One source quoted the sale price of the Borders assets that B&N acquired at $14 million. That's a small price to pay to prevent the potential rebirth of a competing brand, particularly when you include the customer lists and information on DVD and video sales.

Understanding why B&B only bought the video/DVD customer information is tough. I don't have any ready theories. It would be interesting to know who did get that information and how much they paid. The basic question in my mind is did B&N intentionally pass on everything else or did somebody simply out bid them?

Image via Wikipedia
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  1. Is this real or phishing? I got the email tonight.

  2. I THINK it's real. There have been several reports in the press that B&N bought the rights to Borders name along with their customer information and this email seems consistent given that.

    As is always the case in these situations, let your own best judgement be your guide.