Friday, May 20, 2011

Will Barnes & Noble Say: 'Give Me Liberty (Media) & $1 Billion?

TCU's Barnes and Noble Bookstore.Image via WikipediaBillionaire John Malone's Liberty Media, whose holdings include the Atlanta Braves baseball team and interests in Sirius XM Radio, Inc. and the Starz Group media company, has offered $1 billion to acquire the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain, according to Bloomberg News and The Wall St. Journal.

A board committee of  B&N, which controls 28 percent of the e-book market with its Nook e-reader (see "TUOL" posts 4/25/11, 2/9/10), will review the proposal, which would require shareholder and regulatory acceptance. Credit Suisse gave its thumbs-up to the offering, saying that B&N would strongly compete with digital competitors Amazon (which makes the Kindle e-reader) and Apple with the financial backing of Liberty Media.

Liberty Media's $17 a share offer to B&N represents a 20 percent premium to shareholders based on the bookstore chain's closing stock price yesterday. The Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty would control 70 percent of B&N and current B&N chair Leonard Riggio would have a 30 percent equity stake in the enterprise under Liberty's proposed acquistion, according to Bloomberg News.

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