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If Rumors Were Horses: 03-02-22

by | Mar 2, 2022 | 0 comments

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Rumors for week of March 2

It has happened! Waterstones has bought former family-owned chain Blackwell’s for an undisclosed sum, through funds advised by its hedge fund owner Elliott Advisors. The move follows the acquisition of the Foyles bookshops in September 2018, and brings Blackwell’s under the same ownership as Foyles and US chain Barnes & Noble. Blackwell’s was put up for sale at the beginning of February for the first time in its 143-year history. The financial details of the sale were not disclosed.

James Daunt

“Blackwell’s and Heffers are among the most illustrious names in bookselling, a legacy for which we have the utmost respect,” said Waterstones m.d. James Daunt in a statement shared on Monday afternoon (28th February). “We greatly look forward to working alongside the booksellers at Blackwell’s as we secure the future of these wonderful bookshops and preserve academic bookselling in so many towns and campuses across the UK.” Toby Blackwell, Blackwell’s outgoing owner and president said: I view … this….not just as a buyer of the business, but as the right buyer at the right time. This is a positive outcome for Waterstones, Blackwell’s and all our customers in the UK and abroad.” David Prescott, Blackwell’s C.E.O. will remain in his role, and all staff will be retained following the acquisition. Your ATG editor is sad but hopeful.

Rita Ricketts

https://www.thebookseller.com/news/news/waterstones-buys-blackwells-for-undisclosed-sum? utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Morning%20Briefing    (subscriber access only)

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/21/interview-with-a-bookstore-blackwells-in-oxford

Juergen Boos

Moving right along, The director of Frankfurt Book Fair is “suspending co-operation” with Russian authorities organising the collective stand at the annual fair in a demonstration of support for Ukrainian publishers. Meanwhile, the International Publishers Association (IPA) has said it “condemns the criminal Russian invasion in the strongest possible terms”, while the London Book Fair (LBF) has also condemned the invasion. The move by FBF president and C.E.O. Juergen Boos to suspend co-operation with Russia comes as a response to an open letter by the Baltic Cultural Institutions, representing the book industry, which called for book fair organisers to remove Russian stands and sever contact with the Russian Federation. https://www.thebookseller.com/news/russian-stand-suspended-at-frankfurt-book-fair-ipa-condemns-russias-criminal-invasion (subscriber access only)

Duvall Hecht

This is from an obituary in  the Wall Street Journal by James R. Hagerty (2/28/22). Olympic Gold Medalist Duvall Hecht got tired of listening to what he called “bad music and worse news.” In 1975, Hecht set up Books on Tape, Inc. He preferred unabridged books read by little-known actors. He sold to Random House (Bertelsmann) in 2001for an estimated 20 million. Hecht had many interests. He liked to drive trucks because it allowed solitude which is rare these days. He founded rowing programs and worked for a financial writer. He also invented a mobility scooter called the Zipper.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/olympic-rower-duvall-hecht-pioneered-audio-books-11645628531

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