Indigo Books & Music Goes Private

It's official: Indigo Books & Music is a private company, following Trilogy Investment's purchase last Friday of all shares of the company that it didn't already own. Trilogy is headed by Indigo's controlling shareholder Gerald Schwartz, who is on the board of directors and is the spouse of Indigo founder and CEO Heather Reisman. Indigo will soon be delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange, and the company will no longer need to report publicly its sales and earnings.

Reisman said, "We are pleased to have concluded this transaction and look forward to continuing our work on Indigo's transformation strategy. We remain deeply committed to our customers and to all our stakeholders as we work together to inspire reading and enrich the lives of booklovers across the country."

In the last several years, there was turmoil in executive suite and on the board, which included Reisman retiring but then returning when the new CEO, Peter Ruis, resigned, and the resignation of several board members for unexplained reasons. Last year, a ransomware attack shut down many Indigo systems and its website. And sales have dropped significantly in the last year (down 12.3% in the final quarter of 2023), resulting in major layoffs in January. The company's stock price plummeted over the years and was down to C$1.48 (US$1.09) when Trilogy made its initial offer of C$2.25 (US$1.65) a share. The deal was accepted when Trilogy improved its offer to C$2.50 (US$1.84) a share.

Indigo's move marks the last major North American bookseller either to go private or disappear. As recently as 15 years ago, publicly traded booksellers in North America also included Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million.

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