Feb. 25 - Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio to bid for 689 bookstores, website. Bobbi Rebell reports.
The Daily Digit is 689. Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio has told the board he plans to buy the retail assets of the company, including barnesandnoble.com and 689 bookstores. That's down from a peak of 720- and is expected to continue to shrink. The chairman already owns nearly 30 percent of the company. For the rest he wants to acquire, he will pay in cash and arrange for debt assumption. And he will take it private. Riggio is not interested in buying the Nook Media unit that includes e-reader and tablet business and operates college bookstores. His decision didn't surprise analysts. Some say Riggio "loves the business too much to let it go." As a matter of fact, he pioneered the book superstore format in the 1980s and 1990s. But Barnes & Noble's retail has struggled in recent years as customers switched to digital formats. To compete in that field, the company launched the Nook in 2009. Its early growth attracted a big investment from Microsoft last April. In December, British education and media publisher Pearson also bought a stake. Barnes & Noble has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the unit, but disappointing holiday sales have raised questions about its value.