Barnes & Noble Education acquired Student Brands on Friday for $58.5 million in cash. Student Brands is a subscription-based writing skills services business, with properties in the US, Brazil, France and Mexico.
BNED has been trying to buy its way to growth, so far without convincing investors. Earlier this year they paid the Riggios $174 million to buy MBS Textbook Exchange (and in 2016, their more modest acquisitions included LoudCloud, for $17.9 million, and Promoversity). Despite this year’s over $230 million in acquisitions, the company has a market cap of less than $340 million.
In other acquisitions, Netflix made their first purchase — and they have bought a comic book publisher, Millarworld (“Kick-Ass,” “Kingsman” and “Old Man Logan”). Terms were not disclosed, but Netflix said in the announcement, “Mark has created a next-generation comics universe, full of indelible characters living in situations people around the world can identify easily with. We look forward to creating new Netflix Originals from several existing franchises as well as new super-hero, anti-hero, fantasy, sci-fi and horror stories Mark and his team will continue to create and publish.”
Meanwhile, Audible has paired with bestselling author Cesar Millan on Audible for Dogs, “an audio content destination designed to foster calm, relaxed behavior in dogs.” They say it was “inspired by a 2015 independent academic study showing that listening to audiobooks outperformed music in reducing stress in canines. 76% of dog owners who played audiobooks for their dogs reported an increase in calm, relaxed behavior in their pets over a four-week period. Dogs responded best to narrators of the same gender as their primary owner, played at average volume on an in-home listening device.”
Jack Rabinovitch, 87, founder of Canada’s Giller Prize, died on Sunday. Rabinovitch, who worked in commercial real estate, founded the prize in 1994 to honor his second wife, literary journalist Doris Giller. Brad Martin, president and ceo of Penguin Random House Canada says: “Jack has been a great friend to authors and to everyone in the book industry, and he will be greatly missed.”