NEW YORK Barnes & Noble announced that its board of directors intends to evaluate strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of the company, in order to increase stockholder value. The board came to this decision based on the price of Barnes & Noble shares in the marketplace, which the board believes are now significantly undervalued, according to the company.
The process of evaluating strategic alternatives will be overseen by a special committee of four independent directors: George Campbell Jr., William Dillard, II, Margaret Monaco and Patricia Higgins, who will serve as chair of the special committee. The special committee will consider all alternatives to increase stockholder value and will recommend a course of action to the company’s full board. The special committee has selected Lazard to serve as its financial advisor and Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP to serve as its legal advisor.
The board stated: “As the world’s largest bookseller, 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 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 Board has concluded that a review of strategic alternatives is the appropriate next step to take full advantage of our compelling digital opportunities and to create value for shareholders, customers, and employees.”
Leonard Riggio, the company’s founder and largest stockholder, has informed the board that, in light of its decision to explore strategic alternatives, he intends to consider the possibility of participating in an investor group to acquire the company.
Riggio stated: “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 continued: “Having spent a lifetime in bookselling and building this great company, I am as committed as ever to the future of Barnes & Noble.”