Liberty Media drops stake in Barnes & Noble by 90%

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Around three years ago, Liberty Media invested $204 million into Barnes & Noble, the struggling U.S. bookstore chain. Now Liberty Media Corporation is dropping its stake in Barnes & Noble by 90%. Liberty Media’s holdings will be dropped to around 1.66% from its previous 16.6% that was acquired in 2011 through a preferred stock investment.

Liberty Media is selling a majority of its holding to institutional investors. The name of the buyer was not named.

When Liberty Media bought the stake, the company was in talks to buy Barnes & Noble for $1 billion. Barnes & Noble was introducing the Nook e-reader device around that time. The deal talks fell apart since it was difficult to put a value on the Nook. The Nook competes against the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle.

Two years ago, Barnes & Noble created a Nook Media Unit, which Microsoft owns 18% of. Pearson LLC has a 5% stake in the unit. Earlier this year, Barnes & Noble CEO Michael Huseby said that Nook Media may sell or be spun off.

By selling its stake, Liberty Media will lose the right to name two members to the Barnes & Noble board of directors. Liberty senior vice president Mark Carleton will remain on the board.

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