Barnes & Noble Chairman May Take Retail Stores Private

by Christopher Freeburn | February 25, 2013 10:47 am

Barnes and Noble[1]Shares of Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS[2]) surged more than 9% in Monday morning trading after it emerged that the company’s chairman plans to acquire its retail book stores[3].

Leonard Riggio, who founded Barnes & Noble more than three decades ago and remains its largest shareholder, has filed documents with regulators indicating that he will purchase the retail side of the business for an unspecified price, the Associate Press noted.

According to the filings, Riggio, who controls about 30% of BKS shares, is not interested in the company’s electronic book and e-reader business. Riggio did not indicate when he expects to launch the buyout bid.

A buyout offer from Riggio will be evaluated by a committee consisting of three independent members of the company’s board.

Barnes & Noble has struggled in recent years as its brick-and-mortar bookstore business has faced rising competition from online vendors, especially Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN[4]). Last month, a Barnes & Noble executive predicted that the chain would close up to a third of its existing book stores over the next decade[5].

The book retailer has partnered with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT[6]) to develop its line of Nook tablets[7]. The Nook, which functions both as an e-reader and a general tablet computer, competes with Amazon’s Kindle, Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL[8]) and a number of tablets running Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG[9]) Android operating system.

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  2. BKS:
  3. acquire its retail book stores:
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  5. close up to a third of its existing book stores over the next decade:
  6. MSFT:
  7. to develop its line of Nook tablets:
  8. AAPL:
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