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Monday, September 19, 2011

Borders sells off intellectual property rights

Borders held an auction for its intellectual property Wednesday.

Hilco Streambank, which conducted the proceedings and fielded offers from ten bidders, announced they had sold various assets for nearly $15.8 million. Hilco Streambank was vague on exactly who bought what asset, initially naming only Barnes & Noble and Berjaya Books among the "multiple bidders" who each acquired pieces of Borders' IP, including a global portfolio of trademarks, the Borders, Waldenbooks and Brentano's trade names, various domain names, and the website. Barnes & Noble paid approximately $13.9 million, but no one has specified yet what they bought.

Berjaya Books owns and operates Borders Malaysia, which licensed the name from the parent company until its liquidation, and they are reported to have paid $825,000 for trademarks in Malaysia.

Among the other purchasers: Pearson Australia bought the Borders name in Australia and New Zealand (to go with the bookselling website under that name, as the physical Borders bookstores in New Zealand will operate under the Whitcoulls banner) for $450,000; Popular Holdings paid $100,000 for the Borders trademarks in Singapore; and Al Maya International paid $500,000 for trademarks in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf states.

The bidders evidently included "booksellers, major publishing companies and internet only retailers" who engaged in an auction going 50 rounds before the winners emerged. All sales are subject to approval by federal bankruptcy court and a hearing is set for September 20 on the matter.

In a statement general manager of AlixPartners and last-person-standing Borders ceo Holly Etlin said: "We are very pleased with the successful auction. The participants clearly recognized the significant strategic value in the Borders name and other assets linked to the Borders customer base, and the Borders estate benefited as a result."

A separate sale process for additional Borders internet addresses is underway.

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