Written by P.M. Wortham
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Friday, 20 May 2011

image for Wall Street Caught Napping as Barnes & Noble Merges with Baby Gap Stores
Books, baby clothes, power tools and more at Barnes & Noble Plus

Rejecting Liberty Media's latest bid for the struggling book store chain, Barnes & Noble has announced the acceptance of a deal from The Gap that will merge current bookstore locations with clothing and accessories from Baby Gap specialty stores.

Tilda Brayne-Hertz, lawyer and chief negotiator for Barnes & Noble, says that the merger "will align marketing demographic segments from both companies, while opening lateral and often complimentary sales channels within existing distribution networks". When asked to clarify her statement for those who didn't graduate from Harvard Law School, Brayne-Hertz rubbed her temples, took a deep breath, brushed her haggard hair away from her face and replied, "We're gonna sell baby clothes next to baby books in existing stores, OK?"

Clearly showing that it had been a tough week, fraught with difficult negotiations and little sleep, representatives from both Barnes & Noble and The Gap seemed most happy that Liberty Media didn't win the deal.

Analysts believe that as odd as the merger first sounded, there are opportunities for growth. "Just as Borders Books added coffee and sandwich bars to their stores, we see Barnes & Noble featuring numerous other products alongside different book sections", says Money Magazine reporter, Mel Anoma. "Baby clothes and baby books, sure, easy. How about tools and work books in the home repair book section? Or, pots and pans in the cookbook section? Better yet, lingerie and personal power tools in the adult book section? There are hundreds of synergies there".

Brayne-Hertz did not want to speculate as to what the future product lines of Barnes & Noble would look like. "I just need a couple of aspirin, some soft music and a sleeping pill". Anoma speculated that in a couple of months, she could probably walk over to the self-help section and pick up everything she needed. "Though from the look of her, she could use a stop over in the adult section too", said Anoma. "Stress relief and all, you know what I mean".

The new store will be named "Barnes & Noble Plus", where according to the new tag line the "Plus" means so much more than books. "Batteries not included".

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