Geoff Gannon September 24, 2010

Barnes & Noble: Ron Burkle Sends Email to Barnes & Noble Employees

Ron Bukle sent an email to Barnes & Noble (BKS) employees as part of his campaign for the September 28th board election against Len Riggio.

Here’s the part that could persuade Barnes & Noble employees:

the current Barnes & Noble Board of Directors has spent a lot of time, money and effort trying to scare you about my intentions and distort my record as an investor. I’ll be blunt. Contrary to what you may have been told, I’m not trying to take over Barnes & Noble. In fact, if our three nominees are elected, there will be two Leonard Riggio approved directors for every new director. Three new directors can’t control anything — but they can make suggestions, ask questions and explore new ideas.

Barnes & Noble has 9 directors. 3 directors are elected each year. They serve 3 years.

Len Riggio is running for re-election. If Burkle wins, Riggio leaves the board. In theory: a Burkle win would give the Riggio party a 6-3 majority. In reality: the Riggio party directors would be lame ducks. They’d have to win elections in 2011 and 2012 to keep their majority. No Burkle director would be at risk until 2013.

At the trial, both sides assumed Riggio would get 100% support from employees. I’ve heard anecdotal evidence of a split between current and former employees. Ex-employees are tired. They’ll vote Burkle. Current employees are scared. They’ll vote Riggio.

The deadline for employee voting is 5 p.m. today. The annual meeting is Tuesday.