Ann Arbor, MICHIGAN—Calling the move “extensive, necessary, and urgent,” Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson announced that the government’s $700 billion bailout plan would move forward today with the purchase of struggling bookstore giant Borders Group, Inc. The purchase, intended to shore up an important facet of the commercial paper market, would make the government majority owner of the publicly traded company.
Speaking shortly after President Bush at a glittering mall Borders here, Secretary Paulson said that the security of Borders, “where you can get a nice latte and also a magazine if you want,” will calm jittery markets and inject confidence into an economy shaking with worry about everything, including books.
Mr. Bush also reiterated the need for calm and suggested Americans should take a long-term view of the American economy. “Don’t just buy a book and throw it away or hide it under your mattress,” the President said, “but rather keep it a while. It’s a book—put it on your bookshelf.” The President admitted he was not much of a reader but that he liked "that wizard kid," and books about eagles, “and Borders has plenty of all that, thanks to us.”
The Ann Arbor based book chain has over 1,100 stores and 30,000 employees worldwide, with consolidated sales over $3.8 billion. But recent rumors of a downward spiral sluggish sales, overextended growth, and fierce competition from Barnes and Noble have The government will reportedly pay $200 billion “for the whole shebang,” according to Paulson, “including the fixtures and the Coca-Cola machines.”
Asked about the price tag and the relevant worth of Borders as opposed to companies in the unsteady banking industry, Paulson responded that they can always return it within 30 days as long as Americans don’t damage too many books in the meantime or take them into the bathroom. “Plus,” the President added, “we just put it on the credit card—thanks, Congress.”
News of the “book bailout” sent the company’s stock price soaring to $5.02 a share. Company CEO George L. Jones, showing obvious relief, announced his resignation, adding that he “didn’t like books anyway” and that as his last official act he was trying to arrange a reading and signing for Paulson at the Washington, D.C. store.
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