Several big-name companies have announced plans to go private recently and it looks like another leveraged buyout could be in the making, this time involving book retailer Barnes & Noble (BKS).
The company has been struggling to compete in today's electronic market, pinning a lot of its hopes on the Nook e-reader. On Monday, the company's chairmand and founder, Leonard Riggio, said he is considering buying parts of the company.
Riggio disclosed his intentions to the board, which do not include making an offer for the company's Nook Media business or its college bookstore operations. The news sent the stock up more than 10% in Monday's trading.
As consumers increasingly switch away from hardback books in favor of digital formats, sales at Barnes & Noble have suffered. This switch was made evident during the recent holiday shopping season, when sales at Barnes & Noble stores sank 10.9 percent from the same period last year.
If Riggio moves forward with his plan to take his company private, he will be following the footsteps of Michael Dell and Richard Schulze who are in different stages of plans to their the company's they founded, (DELL) and Best Buy (BBY), private.
All three companies are fighting the same battle. The rise of the mobile industry and e-commerce continues to take down companies that are unable to adapt to the changing market place.
Amazon (AMZN) has managed to adapt because of the success of its e-commerce business and the strength of its Android-powered Kindle tablet, but Barnes & Noble has not been able to replicate that same strength with the Nook. Best Buy has become a showroom for consumers to get hands on experience with a product before running home to buy online, and Dell has struggled to remain relevant as the PC industry slowly dies.
Will these leveraged buyouts be enough to save these struggling companies? It will allow them each to take a more long-term approach to their turnaround, but the underlying problems will still remain. They will gain freedom to operate without the scrutiny of Wall Street, but unless they are able to adapt to the current market and figure out a way to take advantage of a mobile world instead of falling victim to it, there is little that going private can do to save their businesses.
Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va. His articles typically cover big-picture events and forecasting what impact they will have on the stock market. In addition to writing for Fresh Brewed Media, Michael also wrote for AOL's BloggingStocks for three years, focusing most of his attention on the energy and technology sectors. Follow him on Twitter at @MFatMICenter.