Geoff Gannon September 28, 2010

Barnes & Noble: How Did Independent Shareholders Vote? – Aletheia

When reading media reports on the Barnes & Noble (BKS) board election, it’s important to read the whole article and ignore some of the surface statements.

For example: some reports say that shareholders decided to backed Riggio. Right now, we don’t know that. Riggio won the shareholder vote. However, most of Riggio’s support came from Riggio himself.

We need to step back and look at how much support Riggio got from people besides himself and his brother. We also need to question Burkle’s statement that “independent” shareholders strongly supported him. Does he mean Aletheia is independent? From his press release, it certainly seems that way.

I’m interested in knowing how folks other than the Riggios, Barnes & Noble insiders, Yucaipa, and Aletheia voted. How did that vote breakdown? How many unaffiliated shareholders didn’t vote?

The New York Times’s Deal Book and Reuters are reporting actual percentages. Neither of the two parties gave numbers in their releases. Both Deal Book and Reuters are saying it was 44% for Riggio. They differ on whether it was 38% or 39% for Burkle. And Reuters says it was 43% instead of 44% in support of the posion pill. So there was a smidge of ticket splitting.

The important question is how seriously we should take what Burkle said about Aletheia’s non-votes. The pro-Riggio vote wasn’t strong. Riggio started with 38% to 39% of the vote. Only about 5% came from campaigning. It’s all about why Burkle couldn’t get to 44%. Not why Riggio could.

Talk to Geoff about Barnes & Noble (BKS)