Tuesday is the day!
I’ve been covering the Ron Burkle vs Barnes & Noble activist battle since jump street for you guys, so like a gentleman, I wanna be the one who takes you home.
If you’re unfamiliar with what’s happening, start here: Fighting on Two Fronts (TRB)
If you’re somewhat up to speed, here’s your pre-fight preview from the Wall Street Journal:
Barnes & Noble, the country’s largest bookstore chain, will count votes for three contested board seats, including that belonging to Mr. Riggio. Whether Mr. Riggio will retain his post is unclear, particularly in light of last week’s decision by Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) to support three rival candidates led by Mr. Burkle.
Mr. Burkle’s investment arm, Yucaipa Cos., together with investment firm Aletheia Research & Management Inc., controls 33.9% of the retailer’s common stock.
By contrast, Mr. Riggio, together with all directors and officers as a group, can vote 31.5% of the bookseller’s outstanding shares.
According to Barnes & Noble’s August proxy, Mr. Burkle owns 11,291,213 shares. At Friday’s 4 p.m. price of $17 in composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Mr. Burkle’s stake is valued at $192 million.
Like any large-scale proxy fight, the institutional shareholders will hold the key. This is not just a battle for control of the nation’s largest bookstore chain, it is a referendum for once-successful management teams who have not kept up with the Digital Age.
This one’s too hard to predict and will come down to the wire. Everyone on the The Street who runs a hedge fund or a company under pressure will be watching. You should too, I’ll have the details here on TRB as they surface.
Click over for more…