Barnes & Noble shares surge on reports bookseller may go private

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.

Sandell Asset Management came to the retailer which has a transaction in which could value Barnes & Noble at more than $650 million, or above $9 a share, people familiar with the plans told the Journal. Barnes & Noble shares closed Wednesday at $6.60 apiece.

Sources told the Journal in which Barnes & Noble can be still evaluating Sandell’s proposal. Sandell controls roughly 2 million Barnes & Noble shares, for a stake within the company of about 2.75 percent, a securities filing shows.

Representatives through Sandell as well as Barnes & Noble didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Even with Thursday’s gains, shares of Barnes & Noble have tumbled more than 30 percent in 2017.

The bookseller faces heightened competition through the likes of Amazon Books, as well as different retailers moving their book assortments online. Heading into the key holiday season, Barnes & Noble aims to grow its same-store sales, something the company wasn’t able to do a year ago.

One person person reportedly standing in Sandell’s ways can be Barnes & Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio, the Journal said.

Riggio doesn’t agree with the firm’s plans in which call for $500 million in debt financing, as well as $250 million through current Barnes & Noble shareholders, a source told the publication. The chairman still carries a roughly 18 percent stake in Barnes & Noble, after purchasing the company in 1971.

This particular can be a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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