December 14, 2015

Books-A-Million goes back to privacy


index_03Times are tough for the chain booksellers, apparently—the last tumultuous decade in book selling has seen the disappearance of Borders as well as a relentlessly diminishing Barnes & Noble franchise, and now Publishers Weekly now reports that Books-A-Million is reorganizing and returning to being a privately held company. Following a $21 million deal—approved on Thursday, December 10th—the Birmingham-based book retailer is once again a private company and its shares have been delisted from trading.

The deal was negotiated between founding board member Clyde B. Anderson and shareholders, and will see the company revert to private holding with the Anderson family as full-owners and Terry Finley as CEO.

As reported by PW’s Jim Milliot, Anderson gave this statement at the conclusion of the deal:

“I am pleased that the majority of the minority shareholders voted in favor of the go-private merger proposal. Also, I am excited to lead the company into the next phase of its history. The transaction returns the company to private ownership in a way that allows us to focus on our customers, suppliers, employees, and the communities we serve.”

BAM maintains 257 stores in 32 states, and while the retailer remains standing—battered but unbroken—it will be interesting to follow the fortunes of the newly consolidated chain in the New Year. Whether or not this presages a miraculous turnaround a la Waterstones, only time will tell.


Simon Reichley is assistant to the publishers and office manager at Melville House.