Shares of Borders' stock rose 43% on Monday after an analyst from Goldman, Sachs indicated that Barnes & Noble would benefit from buying it. Matthew Fassler, an analyst for Goldman Sachs, indicated on Monday that he saw "improved prospects for a deal," which could provide Barnes & Noble with "significant accretion." How would this "accretion" be realized? According to Fassler, "Closing stores and sending a chunk of the volume to surviving nearby stores would drive further accretion.''
Last week Borders announced that it had hired J. P. Morgan and Merrill Lynch to look into a possible sale, while Barnes & Noble's CEO Joseph Lombardi said: "We haven't been approached by Borders' investment bankers, but if we are, we'll certainly take a close look at the company and put it under review."
The acquisition of Borders by Barnes & Noble might raise some antitrust issues, though Borders' financial distress and the current administration's laissez faire attitude certainly renders most of those concerns moot. Whatever its effects on the reading public, the loss of Borders would definitely be a blow to manga publishers. Borders was an early and important champion of manga and graphic novels -- in fact it is easy to argue that the entire manga bookstore boom would never have taken place without the rise of the national chain bookstores. Venues do matter and if Barnes and Noble swallows Borders there will be a lot fewer bookstores out there with large manga and graphic novel sections.