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Stock buy backs got Borders into financial trouble

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google finance (NYSE:BGP) cash flow, note the numbers in bold

In Millions of USD
52 weeks ending 2008-02-02 52 weeks ending 2007-02-03 52 weeks ending 2006-01-28 52 weeks ending 2005-01-23
Issuance (Retirement) of Stock, Net 7.60 -122.70 -238.30 -132.50
Issuance (Retirement) of Debt, Net 43.40 303.30 -1.40 6.80

I has been a Borders customer for a long time, just feel sad to see my favorite bookstore got into such a big financial trouble. But again, they (the former management) kind dig a hole themselves: bought back stocks from year 2004 to 2006 (spent $132.5 m, $238.2 m, $122.7 m). Then scambled to borrow $303.3 m in year 2006, and borrow and issue stocks in year 2007 (too little too late).

Business wise, I think the popularity of iPod/iTune almost killed the music CD sales, and the rise of Amazon (low cost) affect book side of business.

Pershing Square (Bill Ackman) has a 33.62% stake in Borders (gurufocus). BTW, his BGP holding has dropped 96% of its value, according to Gurufocus.

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Buying books from Borders

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I have been a Borders customer for a long time, most times buying coffees while studying (reading books) there, from time to time I also bought some computer or finance related books, such as Effective C++, My Life as a Quant, etc. One benefit of buying books at Borders (compared to Amazon) is getting the book right away, vs. waiting and waiting (I normally use Amazon free shipping option which typically takes a week). We know time is money in many cases.

Recently I bought two books from Borders, one is Cocoa Programming on Mac OS X, another one os Pro C#, both with 40% discount (available to Borders members only, free to join). With the 40% discount, the books are about the same price at Amazon. For instance, the list price of Pro C# 2008 is $59.99, it’s $36 after 40% off (before tax). Amazon price is $37.79.

borders book store
(Source: NPR Market Place)

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