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$BKS May Split Into Two as Chairman and Largest Shareholder Mull the Purchase of Consumer Bookstore Chain

Barnes & Noble Inc.’s BKS +2.37% chairman and biggest shareholder, Leonard Riggio, has expressed interest in buying out the retailer’s consumer-bookstore chain, raising the prospect that the company could be split in two.

Mr. Riggio, 71 years old, built Barnes & Noble into a retail powerhouse in the 1980s and ’90s, and he still controls about 30% of the company’s common stock.

In an regulatory filing Monday, Mr. Riggio said he plans to propose to purchase the company’s stores and website, but not Nook Media LLC—the company’s college-store chain and its Nook e-reader and tablet business. Mr. Riggio plans to negotiate a price with Barnes & Noble’s board and pay for the deal with cash and debt.

Early last year, Barnes & Noble disclosed it was exploring dividing the Nook business from the rest of the company, although it hasn’t elaborated on the effort since. But a special committee of the board, advised by Evercore PartnersEVR +2.84% has been working on the separation idea….”

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