Barnes & Noble Up For Sale

Barnes & Noble, the largest US bookstore chain, has announced that it is considering putting itself up for sale. Barnes & Noble’s board said its shares were “significantly undervalued” and it intends to “evaluate strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company, in order to increase stockholder value.”

Both independent and chain brick-and mortar-bookstores have struggled in recent years due to increased competition from online retailers like Amazon and from the increasing popularity of ebooks. Amazon’s recent announcement that ebooks were outselling hardcovers on their site is just one indication of just how much market share ebooks are grabbing. Barnes & Noble has tried to get in on the ebook market with its nook device, but it faces stiff competition from the Kindle and the iPad.

So who could potentially buy Barnes & Noble? According to the NY Times, it could come down to its wealthiest shareholders Leonard Riggio and Ronald W. Burkle. They say that Riggio is the obvious choice as the company’s founder and largest shareholder. On the other hand, Burkle has been buying up Barnes & Noble stock over the last year, and even sued because he was blocked from buying more than a 20% share.

News of the potential sale caused Barnes & Noble stock to jump as much as 25% on Wednesday (Market Watch).

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