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A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Monday, March 1, 2010


I mentioned last week how fulsome Barnes & Noble was in praising itself in their quarterly earnings conference call.

People rarely do things without a reason, and it's occured to me to mention why I think B&N was so unusually self-congratulatory. The Nook is great, we have the best real estate portfolio, the best web site, the best everything...

Well, B&N is in the midst of a corporate struggle. They put in a poison pill last year to make it harder for the company to be taken over. A billionaire investor Ronald Burkle with a large chunk of B&N stock wants to have even more, which would trigger the provisions of the poison pill, and B&N has refused to dump the pill to accommodate Burkle.

So in the midst of this, the incumbent management at B&N wants to get out the message We Are the Champions, We Are the Champions, We Are the Champions and is signaling to various and sundry listening to the call that if the battle heats up and it comes to a proxy vote between Burkle and B&N management that you better not vote for Burkle. Because B&N has the best e-reader. The best real estate portfolio. The best web site. The best of everything.


Linda Myers said...

Okay, call me a slithy toad, but this comment has nothing to do with your post. It is actually a rave for your website. I don't write a thing that is the sort of stuff in your Willy Loman sample case. But, damn, I wish I did. You may be an awful agent, but you're my kind of awful agent. Regards.

Ricky Bush said...

Nothing new. They're just bragging because Obama didn't have to bail them out. All the big boy booksellers are too full of themselves, but looks like B&N trumps them--I guess until someone tries to swallow the "poison pill".