Seeing Starz? Barnes & Noble gets buyout offer from Liberty Media

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The bookseller Barnes & Noble received a buyout offer from Liberty Media late Thursday. Liberty Media is the Colorado-based company that owns the websites Expedia and Evite and the cable channels QVC and Starz. The deal sets Barnes & Noble’s value at about $1 billion.

Seems like Barnes & Noble looks pretty delicious to outsiders. The company, which Chairman Leonard Riggio founded and has led for more than 30 years, successfully fended off a takeover move from Ron Burke’s Yucaipa Cos. last year.

Which would indicate that Barnes & Noble isn’t looking for a buyer. Who is? Borders, the once-mighty retailer that lost ground during the advent of ebooks and entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February. Earlier this month, the abrupt end of a routine bankruptcy hearing led some watchers to speculate that an offer had been made for Borders.

But it’s Barnes & Noble that has announced a suitor first. And it looks as though it will be more amenable to Liberty Media than it was to Yucaipa Cos. -- its board of directors said in a statement that it will evaluate the proposal from Liberty Media. The company added that acceptance of the proposal would be contingent on the participation of Riggio ‘both in terms of his continuing equity ownership and his continuing role in management.’



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-- Carolyn Kellogg