As publishers met with Borders executives yesterday afternoon to discuss restructuring options and credit negotiation agreements, the company announced that another 15 staffers have been let go. Spokesperson Mary Davis issued a statement that, "As part of its brand transformation process, which includes enhanced cost efficiencies measures, Borders Group today eliminated 15 positions within its field organization. The number includes 9 regional merchandising manager, four event marketing manager and two district manager positions.
"The affected employees are being offered, in some cases, an alternative position, while the rest of the employees will receive severance in accordance with company policy. The decision to eliminate these positions is not related to Borders' previously reported refinancing effort or the delay of certain vendor payments in connection with the refinancing effort." (Except, of course, that it really is.)The first report on those meetings yesterday comes from the NYT, which you could file under Groundhog Day. Yes, "Borders executives told publishers that they were close to securing refinancing from GE Capital and other lenders"--but that's what they have been saying since Mike Edwards started speaking to publishing executives the last week of December. Other information received so far indicates that Borders essentially repeated their previous ideas for how publishers should refinance the bookseller. (Along the way, they have at least tried to attach other unappealing conditions, including asking publishers to promise not to force the company into a bankruptcy filing, and suggesting new, longer dating on their bills, according to people familiar with the discussions.) The poor day traders who rely on the NYT for their information bid up Borders' shares this morning on the presumption that this is news.
Separately, a bookseller at Borders' store at Brookwood Place in Atlanta confirmed that the location will close at the end of February. As we've noted previously, they are one of 20 currently-scheduled "stealth closings" that the company has not officially acknowledged yet, with 17 of those stores due to close before the end of January.
Labels: Borders, meetings with publishers, Publisher's Lunch, store closings, update