Liberty acquires 17% stake in Barnes & Noble for $204 million

New York City -- Barnes & Noble revealed late Thursday that media conglomerate Liberty Media has acquired a stake in the bookseller for $204 million.

The move, while celebrated by Barnes & Noble, is thought to be a disappointment for investors, who wanted the John C. Malone-controlled Liberty Media to buy Barnes & Noble outright. Liberty’s current investments include Starz Entertainment, home shopping channel QVC and the Atlanta Braves baseball team.

Last May, Liberty proffered $17 a share for 70% of the bookseller, but backed off after due diligence raised concerns about costs and the current economic climate.

The current deal gives Liberty a 16.6% stake in Barnes & Noble. Liberty also gets two new seats on Barnes & Noble’s board. It has nominated Gregory B. Maffei, its CEO, and Mark D. Carleton, a senior VP.

“This investment provides Barnes & Noble with capital to grow its business on terms that are attractive for both parties and allows us to play a meaningful role in shaping their success to generate returns for our shareholders and theirs,” Maffei said in a statement.

Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard S. Riggio added: “We could not have found a better strategic investor than Liberty Media. Their investment is a strong endorsement of our overall business, and the additional capital will further fuel the explosive growth of our digital strategy.”
 

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