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Barnes & Noble founder pondering bid to buy back retail business, hive off Nook Media

Just 12 hours after (already denied) rumors circulated that Barnes & Noble may ditch its Nook business, the company has had to make an announcement concerning its retail division. Thanks to SEC regulations, the company has had to 'fess up that majority shareholder and "founder*" Leonard Riggio is pondering buying the brick-and-mortar retail business -- presumably hiving off the Nook brand as a separate entity. Of course, this could easily just be the rattling of sabers by a disgruntled founder (and not for the first time of late), or we might see the bookseller cleft in two parts in the near future. Either way, we'll be watching with great interest.

* He founded the book chain that would buy the Barnes & Noble name.

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Barnes & Noble to Evaluate Sale of Retail Business

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced that its Board of Directors has received notice from Mr. Leonard Riggio, the Company's founder, largest stockholder and Chairman of the Board, that Mr. Riggio plans to propose to purchase all of the assets of the retail business of Barnes & Noble. Mr. Riggio's plans with respect to a proposal are set forth in an amendment to his Schedule 13D filed today with the SEC.

The process of evaluating a proposal and negotiation of any transaction will be overseen by a Strategic Committee of three independent directors: David G. Golden, David A. Wilson and Patricia L. Higgins, who is Chair of the Strategic Committee. The Strategic Committee has selected Evercore Partners to serve as its financial advisor and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP to serve as its legal advisor.

There can be no assurance that the review of Mr. Riggio's proposal or the consideration of any transaction will result in a sale of the retail business or in any other transaction. There is no timetable for the Strategic Committee's review. The Company does not intend to comment further regarding the evaluation of Mr. Riggio's proposal, unless and until definitive agreements for a transaction are entered into or the Strategic Committee determines to conclude the process.