Aug 9 – Aug 15, 2010 Edition Barnes & Noble Breaks Off Talks with Yucaipa

NEW YORK,NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/August 12, 2010–Barnes & Noble today broke off its talks with Yucaipa Companies indicating a proxy fight for control of the bookseller lies ahead.

The company issued the following one-sentence statement: “Barnes & Noble and Yucaipa were unable to conclude an agreement on mutually acceptable terms.”

Barnes & Noble had been in talks with Yucaipa, the investment vehicle of the billionaire Ronald W. Burkle over a potential settlement that might have avoided a protracted fight over the Barnes & Noble board.

The talks between Barnes & Noble and Mr. Burkle’s investment firm, followed an announcement last week by the nation’s largest bookstore owner, that it has put itself up for sale.

Among the terms that had been discussed this week were expanding Barnes & Noble’s nine-member board by up to three additional directors chosen by Mr. Burkle, according to media reports.

In exchange, Mr. Burkle would have agree not to start a proxy fight and to withdraw a lawsuit filed this year against Barnes & Noble over a plan meant to limit the size of his stake in the company. He would have also support the company’s candidates for directors for this year and next.

The settlement, however, apparently broke down Wednesday night, with Barnes & Noble issuing the statement this afternoon.

Founder Len Riggio, who has said he would buy more shares in the company, and Burkle are expected to fight for who gets control.