Barnes & Noble Founder Looking To Buy Retail Business Back

Just as Best Buy founder Richard Schulze nears the deadline to present his bid to buy the company back from shareholders comes news that the chairman of Barnes & Noble has similar plans for the company he started 40 years ago.

Multiple news outlets are reporting that B&N founder Leonard Riggio has told the bookstore’s board that he wants to take back the retail side of the company — both bricks-and-mortar stores and the company’s online outlets — but not the Nook Media division that has struggled to keep pace with Amazon and Apple.

Like Schulze’s relationship with Best Buy, Riggio already owns a large stake (around 30%) of the company, making him the largest stakeholder in the business.

DealBook reports that the company has already created special board committee of three directors to review Riggio’s proposal.

Riggio’s proposal was revealed earlier today in a regulatory filing by the bookstore chain.

While the company’s Nook business, which recently benefited from investments by Microsoft and the Penguin Group, has been unable to catch up to Amazon’s Kindle e-reader or Apple’s iPad tablet, the bricks-and-mortar stores have continued to make a profit.

The company recently confirmed its long-term goals of closing around one-third of its retail locations over the next 10 years, though B&N claims that fewer than 20 of its stores are failing to make a profit.

Meanwhile, recent reports seem to indicate that the thinning of B&N and the closing of chains like Borders are resulting in a resurgence of independent bookstores.

Barnes & Noble Chairman to Bid for Chain’s Retail Business [DealBook]
Barnes’s Chairman Mulls Store Buyout [WSJ.com]