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Borders Group Hires Merrill Lynch to Help Explore Alternatives By Greg Wiles

Ann Arbor, Michigan -- Borders Group Inc., the No. 2 U.S. book chain, said it hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to look for ways such as mergers to help boost the company's stock price.

The retailer said it is also looking at alternatives such as a leveraged buyout or recapitalization.The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based company said its board hired the investment banker after deciding its stock was significantly undervalued. The stock has fallen from a high of 39 5/8 in July 1998.

Shares of the Borders rose 1 3/8 to 14 1/4 in early morning trading. The company trail Barnes & Noble Inc. in sales.