Geoff Gannon September 28, 2010

Barnes & Noble: Len Riggio Defeats Ron Burkle – 44% to 38%

The New York Times’s Deal Book is reporting that Len Riggio defeated Ron Burkle in today’s Barnes & Noble (BKS) board election. The vote tally – and so far, only Deal Book is giving numbers – was 44% for Riggio to 38% for Burkle.

Burkle got his press release out first:

…preliminary vote totals show that Barnes & Noble…stockholders not affiliated with either Leonard Riggio or Yucaipa voted overwhelmingly for the Yucaipa nominees and poison pill proposal, but due to the insurmountable voting advantage of Leonard Riggio and other insiders the Barnes & Noble slate prevailed.

Barnes & Noble followed with its own press release. All statements were cut and paste.

So back to Burkle’s:

…it is important that Leonard Riggio himself send a message that the strategic alternatives review process is fair and non-discriminatory… the best way he can support the Company’s efforts to maximize stockholder value is a clear and unequivocal public commitment to support the highest bid for the Company, even if it is submitted by a third party…If Mr. Riggio is unwilling to make that commitment, we challenge the Committee overseeing this process to insist on it as a condition of entertaining a bid from him or, at a minimum, amend the poison pill to allow other bidders to neutralize Mr. Riggio’s voting bloc.

Barnes & Noble is trading at $16.16 a share. My average cost is $15.36. I have no plans to sell. If you have questions for me about my BKS position, just ask.