UPDATE Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.: It's official: Borders is a goner.
The company scrapped plans for Tuesday's bankruptcy-court auction after receiving no bids, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The company now plans to ask a judge Thursday to sign off on a sale to liquidators. Assuming the deal is approved, Borders stores may begin their going-out-of-business sales as soon as Friday.
The company expects to close its remaining 400 or so stores for good by the end of September.
Original Post: Barnes & Noble may soon be the sole remaining national bookstore retail chain.
Borders is facing liquidation heading into Tuesday’s bankruptcy auction, a move that would put the nation’s second-largest bookstore retailer out of business for good and leave more than few big-box holes in shopping centers around the United States. All told, Borders currently has about 400 stores across the United States.
The embattled bookseller had hoped to finalize a roughly $215 million deal with private equity firm Najafi Companies, which counts the Book of the Month Club among its holdings. But those talks fell apart last week and the firm has pulled out of negotiations entirely, Bloomberg reports.
Still, as the Wall Street Journal notes, “Borders is likely to entertain offers right up until the scheduled auction in the hopes a white knight will emerge to save the chain.”
One possible bidder could be the Alabama-based bookstore Books-a-Million. The Journal reported that the company was in talks late Sunday to purchase at least a portion of Borders, but neither company made any announcement as of Monday afternoon on the possibility of a deal.
Whatever the outcome, the latest turn of events marks a long fall for a company that started 40 years ago in Ann Arbor, Mich., as a used bookstore and grew into to a chain of 1,249 stores at the height of its success in 2003.
Many analysts point to Borders' sluggish pace at establishing an online retail presence as a contributor to its financial troubles. The company was also slow to enter the e-book market, falling behind Amazon and Barnes & Noble, both of which sell their own e-readers to consumers.