Aug 9- Aug 15, 2010 Edition Speculators Say Amazon a Likely Barnes and Noble Buyer

NEW YORK, NY/AUTHORLINK NEWS/August 9, 2010– may be the likely buyer for Barnes & Noble which went on the block last week, according to speculation by The Street. The web site surveyed an unspecified group of people and found that 37% of those asked agreed that Amazon is the most logical choice. By purchasing Barnes & Noble, Amazon would effectively wipe out its primary competition in the digital bookselling market, which remains one of its fastest growing segments.

B&N Founder and primary shareholder Leonard Riggio is also a potential buyer, according to 31.3% of those surveyed by The Street. Riggio purchased Barnes & Noble in 1971 for just $750,000, turning it into the nation’s book retailer of choice for the better part of two decades.

Riggio has already said he’s considering bidding for the company along with a larger group of investors. “I fully support the Board’s decision to evaluate strategic alternatives at this time,” Riggio said in a statement this week. “Regardless of whether I participate in an investment group that buys the company, I, as well as the entire senior management team, am willing and eager to remain with the company and see it through the challenging years ahead.”

Also mentioned as a possible bidder is the private equity firm Apollo Management. However, other speculators say Barnes & Noble will have a tough time finding a buyer and that the spoils will go either to Riggio or to Ron Burkle, the billionaire investor who is currently in a court battle with Barnes & Noble for restricting the amount of shares that can be held by a single entity, thus reducing the possibility of a take-over by inside traders.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble continue to go head-to-head in battling to offer the cheapest e-reader device. Barnes & Noble ignited a price war in June, lowering the cost of the Nook to $199 from $259, and saying it would offer a basic version for just $149.

Only hours later, Amazon responded by slashing the price of the Kindle to $189 from $259.

Since then, Amazon has gone even further, saying it will offer a Wi-Fi Kindle for $139, making it the lowest priced e-reader among big brands.