After failing to get anyone to buy B&N this summer, investor Sandell Capital Management announced a bid to take Barnes & Noble private - at a value far below what everyone thought the company was worth only five years ago.
Barnes & Noble shares jumped as much as 16 percent Thursday afternoon after The Wall Street Journal reported an activist investor has proposed a deal to take the bookseller private. The stock was halted briefly on the news, and again while awaiting Barnes & Noble's response.
Sandell Asset Management came to the retailer with a transaction that would value Barnes & Noble at around $650 million, or $9 a share. Barnes & Noble shares closed Wednesday at $6.60 apiece.
Barnes & Noble issued a rebuttal, saying: "The Company does not take Sandell's proposal as bona fide in that Sandell is the beneficial owner of 1 million common Barnes & Noble shares worth approximately $7 million."
Sandell controls roughly 2 million Barnes & Noble shares, for a stake in the company of about 2.75 percent, a securities filing shows.
Remember when B&N planned to spin off Nook Media in 2012 and valued the new company at $1.8 billion?
Those were the days.
No one is taking this offer seriously, although B&N' stock is trading up on the speculation that Sandell could pull it off.
B&n's stock is trading at just above $7 a share late Thursday afternoon; in comparison, the stock traded at $13 to $17 for much of 2012.
image by Mike Tewkesbury