February 18 – 25, 2010 Edition

Burkle Interest in Barnes & Noble Boosts Stock Position

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/February 18, 2010–Goldman Sachs this week gave a small vote of confidence to Barnes & Noble stocks, announcing that it has removed the bookseller from their “Conviction Sell” list while maintaining a “Sell” rating.   The global investment banking and securities firm said billionaire activist investor Ron Burkle’s efforts to raise his stake in Barnes & Noble are likely to ease the impact of an eroding financial and competitive situation in the near-term, according to Street Insider.

Goldman’s Sachs’ Conviction Sell List is a listing of stocks the investment bank’s research team expects to lag. Goldman Sachs’ regional Conviction Buy and Sell lists represent investment recommendations focused on either the size of the potential return or the likelihood of the realization of the return. (from

Business magnate Ron Burkle sent a letter to Barnes & Noble Inc. in early February seeking to acquire as much as 37% of the company, up from his current stake of 19%, and blasting the book retailer for having different sets of anti-takeover rules for big investors: one applying to insiders and one applying to outsiders. In November Barnes & Noble disclosed that its board had adopted a shareholder-rights plan, also known as a "poison pill," in response to the recent rapid accumulation of the bookstore chain’s stock by Mr. Burkle. Now the billionaire and his investment firm, Yucaipa Cos., are seeking to raise their stake to 37% without triggering the shareholders-rights plan.

Ronald Burkle founded and now runs Yucaipa Companies, a private equity firm which invest in retail, manufacturing and distribution. Burkle has served as Chairman of the Board and controlling shareholder of numerous companies, including Alliance Entertainment, Golden State Foods, Dominick’s, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, and Food4Less. He is currently a member of the board of Occidental Petroleum Corporation, KB Home, and Yahoo!. Burkle is also a part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins with legendary hockey player Mario Lemieux.

Barnes & Noble’s price target of $17 was unchanged as of last week.