John Malone Explains Barnes & Noble Bid

Liberty Media chairman cites Sirius experience, future of the Nook

Headshot of Emma Bazilian

John Malone, the chairman of Liberty Media, explained why his company made a buyout bid for Barnes & Noble valuing it at $1 billion. The decision came down to Liberty's bid for Sirius and his outlook for Nook, he said.

“You might look at the experience we've had with Sirius XM,” Malone told shareholders at a meeting in Denver on Monday. In 2009, Liberty acquired a 40 percent stake in Sirius XM in exchange for a $530 million investment. That stake is now worth more than $5 billion. It seems that Malone thinks that Barnes & Noble shares are similarly undervalued.

Malone then pointed to Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader as a possible source of future success, saying that as publishers grow wary of the dominance of Amazon’s Kindle, they’re more likely to offer their support to the rival Nook. Malone also thinks that Nook, which runs on Android software, could expand by becoming an e-reader platform for third-party devices. But he denied rumors that Liberty would push for synergy between the Nook and any of its existing properties, including Starz, LiveNation, and QVC.

Malone said that he expects a decision from Barnes & Noble’s board in the coming “months, if not weeks.”

@adweekemma Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.