Barnes & Noble on the block
New York City Barnes & Noble said it is exploring strategic alternatives, including putting itself up for sale. The nation’s largest bookseller said that its board believed the stock was “significantly undervalued” and that it had set up a special committee to review its options.
“Barnes & Noble has an iconic brand and unique competitive advantages we believe will position the company to succeed over time in a rapidly changing market,” the board said in a statement. “The board is confident in Barnes & Noble’s strategy and fully supportive of the senior management team, which is delivering explosive growth in our fast-developing digital business.”
The announcement came as Barnes & Noble faces a lawsuit from an activist shareholder, Ron Burkle, about the company’s “poison pill” plan. Burkle, who owns 18% of the stock, argues the “poison pill” plan creates an unfair playing field that favors chairman and company founder Leonard Riggio, who has a 30% stake in the company, and other Riggio family members. Burkle has said he is not interested in a takeover but wants to see changes in the company’s corporate governance.
The chain said Riggio has informed the board that he intends to consider the possibility of participating in an investor group to acquire the company.
“I fully support the board’s decision to evaluate strategic alternatives at this time. Regardless of whether I participate in an investment group that buys the company, I, as well as the entire senior management team, am willing and eager to remain with the company and see it through the challenging years ahead,” Riggio said in a statement.
Although Barnes & Noble has shifted its focus to the fast-growing, electronic book business, debuting its own e-book reader last year and expanding its e-book online bookstore, its core book selling-business remains pressured by online competitors and discounters.
Safeway names SVP government affairs
PLEASANTON, Calif. Safeway announced that it has appointed 16-year veteran Jonathan Mayes to SVP government relations, public affairs, corporate social responsibility and philanthropy.
“Jonathan is an exceptional leader and has successfully represented the company and its stakeholders in his role as our key Government Affairs person,” said Larree Renda, EVP, chief strategist and administrative officer. “Certainly he will bring the same level of excellence and commitment to these other functions that interact on a daily basis with our customers and communities.”
Mayes joined Safeway in 1994 as a senior attorney focused on employment law, business litigation, and consumer protection matters. In 1996, he joined the company’s government relations team as a director and was promoted to VP of that function in 1999. In 2008, Mayes was named group VP government relations in charge of the team of professionals that focus on local, state and federal government matters in the geographies in which Safeway operates in the United States and Canada.
Before joining Safeway, Mayes was senior corporate counsel for Lucky Stores, and an attorney at Donahue Gallagher Woods LLP.
Diddy goes green for M&M’s
HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. Mars Chocolate North America announced that Ms. Green is officially America’s favorite M&M’S character, and Sean “Diddy” Combs will produce a special M&M’s Green party in her honor.
Diddy will plan the party for “Party Like Diddy” Sweepstakes winner B.C. Ashmall-Liversidge and 20 of her friends. The party will take place in New York City this summer.