We shouldn't be surprised that the current financial crisis is impacting the publishing and bookselling sectors. Today's Publisher's Lunch reports on Borders and Reed likely are indicative of problems faced by others.
Borders has been under financial pressure for some time now. According to Publisher's Lunch, The Wall Street Journal reports that the next phase of its loan arrangements with Pershing Square Capital Management starts on October 1. If Borders has not negotiated a deal to sell the company by that date, which seems increasingly unlikely given the state of our financial system, then Pershing Square acquires warrants to purchase another 8% of the company. At the moment, those warrants aren't worth exercising, since they're priced at $7 a share, a level Borders' stock hasn't seen since the company disclosed its liquidity pressures earlier this year. The report also estimates that Pershing Square already owns more than 35% of Borders, making it the company's largest shareholder.
The markets may also impact Reed, which had hoped to sell the Reed Business Information group of magazines. Gruner + Jahr, which had evaluated a bid for the group, announced that they will not make an offer.
It's likely that we'll see more bargain sales in the future along with a slowdown in what might have been the normal pace of sales of units by companies in stronger financial situations.
Posted by P. Kaufman at September 26, 2008 11:45 AM