Barnes & Noble Founder Maintains Control of Board

By Maryann Yin Comment

barnes-noble-logo1.jpgBarnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio and supporters have defeated investor Ronald W. Burkle’s attempt to secure more spots on the company board. After a shareholder vote, Riggio and his two nominees, Dave Golden and David Wilson, will sit on Barnes & Noble board.

According to the New York Times, the Riggio family owns 36 percent of Barnes & Noble while Burkle owns 19 percent. In an effort to limit Burkle’s power, Barnes & Noble launched a “poison pill” plan. A Delaware court judge approved the strategy in August. At this meeting, Burkle’s investment firm Yucaipa Companies also asked that the poison pill limitations be raised to 30 percent, but that was also rejected.

Barnes & Noble will now proceed with an auction. The Wall Street Journal quoted director Patricia Higgins: “Yucaipa is welcome, as are all interested parties, to make a bid for the Company. All interested bidders should contact our financial advisors at Lazard.”

Burkle and Riggio fought to fill three contested board seats. Burkle’s proposed board included himself, Stephen Bollenbach, and Michael S. McQuary. Burkle claims that he had no intentions of a hostile takeover, but wanted the Riggio family to have less influence over the actions of the board.

This has been a tense time for the corporate administrators of Barnes & Noble. Burkle had won the support of proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services. Riggio had the support of three smaller firms, Proxy Governance, the Egan-Jones Proxy Services, and Glass Lewis. (Via Digital Book World)