Nook Driving Liberty Interest in Barnes & Noble, Says Source

By Jeremy Greenfield, Editorial Director, Digital Book World

Liberty Media’s ongoing interest in acquiring Barnes & Noble is driven by a desire to acquire the Nook platform, a source close to the matter told Digital Book World.

“They think the Nook can take on the Kindle,” said the source.

Liberty Media CEO John Malone reportedly implied as much in July. Requests for comment from Liberty Media were not returned before press time.

Attempts to take over the company this Spring and Summer were waylaid by resistance from Ron Burkle, the supermarket magnate whose investment vehicle, Yucaipa Companies, owns nearly 20% of the bookseller.

Through its Liberty Starz group, Liberty Media owns outright the Starz premium movie service, which offers 16 movie channels to paying subscribers and other related services. Liberty also has a 40% stake in satellite radio provider SiriusXM and other media holdings. The Nook, Barnes & Noble’s e-reader and tablet platform, will offer users access to Netflix, Hulu Plus and other content providers.

Liberty Media reportedly has “renewed” interested in acquiring Barnes & Noble and is rumored to be creating a $1.5 billion credit facility for the acquisition. If true, this would represent roughly a 50% premium on the current stock price for Barnes & Noble as of 3:24 today and a 50% increase in the company’s $1 billion offer for Barnes & Noble earlier this year.

Barnes & Noble has told Bloomberg that there is “no truth” to Liberty Media’s new interest.

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