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Liberty Media Offers to Purchase 70% Stake in Barnes & Noble

20 May, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Liberty Media Corp. has offered to acquire majority ownership in book and packaged media retailer Barnes & Noble Inc.

Englewood, Colo.-based Liberty said its $17-per-share cash offer would amount to a bid worth about $1 billion depending on third-party financing.

Liberty owns numerous business interests, including Starz LLC and subsidiary Starz Entertainment, which licenses movies and original TV programming to multichannel video distributors and Netflix.

Liberty, in a statement, said the proposed merger is contingent on a variety of conditions, including involvement by founding Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio.

Riggio started the chain in 1965 with a single store in New York. The country’s largest book retailer now has more than 700 stores nationwide, in addition to another 636 stores operated Barnes & Noble College Booksellers LLC subsidiary.

Barnes & Noble, which put itself up for sale in August, previously had expressed interest in a minority stake in bankrupt No. 2 book retailer Borders Group. Borders is in the process of shuttering more than a third of its 642 stores.

Separately, Amazon said it now sells more electronic books than print editions.

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