Last updated: May 20, 2011 - 8:50am
Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest book chain, said on Thursday it had received a proposal from Liberty Media to acquire the company, more than nine months after the bookseller put itself up for sale. Liberty Media offered to pay $17 a share in cash, valuing the company at $1.02 billion.
The offer represents a 20 percent premium to Barnes & Noble’s closing stock price on May 19. The stock last traded above $17 in February. The offer caused the stock to jump in after-hours trading well above the offer price. The proposal is contingent on the participation of Leonard Riggio, the chairman of Barnes & Noble, “both in terms of his continuing equity ownership and his continuing role in management,” according to a statement from Barnes & Noble. The offer came from an unexpected source. Liberty Media, a media conglomerate run by John C. Malone, has historically bought stakes in cable, satellite television and interactive companies, but not in bricks-and-mortar retail — one reason the continued participation of Mr. Riggio, a respected industry veteran for decades, could be a condition of the deal.
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