Oh man – and here I was saying that Borders US and Borders AU weren’t linked. Financially, they’re not – the US firm sold off the AU operation years ago, so maybe it’s a co-incidence, since its parent company REDgroup Retail has been in financial difficulties for years.

In any case, it just got to be an even bigger news story, and another kick in the guts for pbooks.

As the The Sydney Morning Herald reports:

REDgroup Retail, owners of Angus & Robertson and Borders stores in Australia, and Whitcoulls stores in New Zealand, has been placed into voluntary administration by its private equity owner PEP, and has had a troubled few years… REDgroup was forced to call in administrators to the businesses this afternoon following a board meeting. Although its flagship Borders franchise is expected to remain open in the short term, its future in Australia and the jobs of its staff are now in doubt.

The report continues that the administrator says the Borders chain will stay open in the short term, while administrators conduct an urgent assessment of the business’s financial status and prepare for the first meeting of creditors, which is likely to take place in the first week of March.

You’ll remember that REDgroup lost $43m in the last financial year, and has had to explain itself to the NZ stock market recently.

They also had a series of job losses and the resignation of its CEO recently. That was the writing on the wall.

Um. Wow. At least I’ve got a small ebookstore open now. Anyone wanna buy a book? I’m not going broke.

This is massive news in Australasia. If REDgroup does get liquidated, that takes out three of the largest book chains in Australasia: Borders and Angus & Robertson in Australia and Whitcoulls (est 1882), the largest book chain in New Zealand.

I knew the pbook industry was struggling, but not this much. Jeez.

Via Jason Davis’ Book Bee blog