Burkle appeals Barnes & Noble ruling


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In the latest developments in the saga between Barnes & Noble Inc. and Ron Burkle, the billionaire investor is appealing a Delaware judge’s dismissal of his lawsuit against the bookseller that sought to expand his stock holdings.

‘We believe that the important stockholders’ rights at issue in our suit against the Riggio-dominated Barnes & Noble Board -- equal treatment of stockholders and the right of stockholders to freely and effectively vote to elect independent directors -- should be decided by the Delaware Supreme Court,’ Burkle’s investment firm, Yucaipa Cos., said in a statement.

In the Aug. 13 decision, Delaware Chancery Judge Leo. E. Strine Jr. said Barnes & Noble had cause to believe that Burkle was planning a takeover of the company without paying other shareholders a reasonable premium.


‘Yucaipa frames its argument that it poses no serious threat in a very convenient and self-serving way,’ the 87-page ruling said. ‘The defendants have shown that their adoption and use of the Rights Plan was a good-faith, reasonable response to a threat to Barnes & Noble and its stockholders.’

Thursday’s filing came a day after Barnes & Noble’s board of directors sent a letter to shareholders encouraging them to reject Burkle’s proposals and saying the billionaire investor provided ‘no strategic vision’ for the company’s future.

‘Who’s kidding whom?’ the letter says in capital letters and bold font. ‘We believe Mr. Burkle has a self-serving agenda to seize control of Barnes & Noble.... Do not let Burkle destroy Barnes & Noble.’

Shares of Barnes & Noble rose 47 cents, or 3%, to $16.10 on Thursday.

-- Andrea Chang