Russian Banker Alexander Mamut Buys Waterstone's
Posted on May 21, 2011The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Russian banker Alexander Mamut is buying the Waterstone's chain for about $86 million. Waterstone's has nearly 300 stores in the UK and Ireland. Mamut's previous experience in bookselling was as an investor in a Russian bookstore chain called Bookberry that went bankrupt in 2009.
Mamut has appointed British bookseller James Daunt to run Waterstone's. The WSJ says Daunt's goal is to inject new life into the bookselling world, which sounds promising. Daunt told the Journal that he thinks some Waterstone bookstores are "absolutely fabulous," while others are out of sync with their neighborhoods.
There has been a lot of upheaval in the bookselling business worldwide this year, especially with the Borders Group filing bankruptcy. The other big bookselling news this week is that Barnes & Noble is considering a $1 billion buyout offer from Liberty Media.