Borders Group CEO Denies Sales Discussion

Dearborn, Mich. Borders Group Inc. has not had substantial discussions regarding a possible sale of the bookseller and is moving forward on efforts to improve its business, CEO George Jones said Thursday.

The CEO provided the update to investors during the Ann Arbor company’s annual meeting of shareholders in Dearborn, according to the Associated Press. The meeting came a day after a report in The Wall Street Journal that rival bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc. had assembled a team to study the possibility of acquiring Borders.

Barnes & Noble confirmed on Thursday that it had put together a management team to study the feasibility of a combination.

Borders said in March that it may put itself up for sale and that it had lined up $42.5 million in financing to help it continue operations from hedge fund Pershing Square Capital Management LP, its largest shareholder.

Jones told The Associated Press after the meeting that the company’s review of strategic alternatives, which could include the possible sale of all or part of the company, hasn’t been a distraction to Borders’ efforts to revamp its stores and prepare for the upcoming launch of the new Borders.com Web site.

“We think the best thing we can do for shareholders, regardless of what the strategic alternatives might be, is to focus on running our business the best way possible. And that’s what we’re trying to do,” Hones said.

Borders is more than a year into a restructuring that includes rolling out the concept of U.S. superstores. Borders’ new Web site is expected to be ready to start taking orders soon.

Any deal between Borders and Barnes & Noble would need to address possible antitrust concerns from federal regulators because the two book chains combined control about one-third of the market.