In the war between online booksellers Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble announced this morning that it would like to pay $2.50 a share for the remaining 25% chunk of Barnesandnoble.com that it doesn't already own. That represents a $115 million transaction. Barnes & Noble recently bought back 37% of the online unit from Bertelsmann AG, so the news that the company will go ahead and gobble up the rest of its online outlet isn't a complete shock.
Barnesandnoble.com will continue to peddle books electronically, and will be run as a wholly owned subsidiary of the larger enterprise. It has been making progress recently, trimming expenses and losses. However, it never was able to gain on the leader, and ate dust from the get-go. Barnesandnoble.com, for instance, anticipates sales of between $415 million to $435 million for the full year; Amazon's revenues from just its third quarter alone reached $1.1 billion.
It's amusing to look back at the predictions for Amazon's swift demise when Barnes & Noble decided to launch its online store. People discounted the mind share that Amazon had already cemented in so many online shoppers. And they overestimated the power of a brand to translate from the "real" world to the cyber one.
Amazon has come out on top, and its shareholders have, too. Barnesandnoble.com has been trading at under $5 a share for three years now, while Amazon has soared. Amazon and its defenders must feel vindicated today.
Motley Fool Stock Advisor subscribers have certainly benefited from Amazon's dominance, with the stock up 258% since David Gardner's October 2002 recommendation.