Liberty Media To Buy Book Chain

Liberty Media, a media conglomerate heavily involved in cable and satellite television as well as internet ventures, is the apparent buyer of Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest book chain. More than nine months after the bookseller put itself up for sale, Liberty Media has made an offer to pay $17 a share in cash, valuing the company at $1.02 billion. The deal is a bit surprising considering the pressure lately experienced by brick-and-mortar book retailers whose businesses have been declining since the advent of electronic book sales. Barnes & Noble has introduced two dedicated e-readers, the Nook and Nook Color. It has expanded its market share in the e-book business to at least 20 per cent but still lags behind the sales of Kindles and the robust e-book sales of competitors such as Amazon.com. The sales comes amidst chaos in the traditional book selling business, with rival Borders filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February and subsequently closing hundreds of stores around the country. It has not yet been determined whether the newly revamped Barnes & Noble will follow suit and close many of its retail stores and put its major emphasis on the expanding e-book market. Also unclear is the continued participation of Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio in a top management position in the new firm.

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