Book retailer Barnes & Noble said its shares have slumped so low it may put itself on the block—possibly selling the chain to an investment group that would include its founder and biggest shareholder, Leonard Riggio. The world's largest bookseller said late today that its board is evaluating several options to boost shareholder value in the face of a depressed stock price, including selling the company. Riggio holds some 28% of the company's shares.
B&N shares soared on the news in after-hours trading, rising $3.31, or nearly 26%, to $16.15. Barnes & Noble has been hurting, along with other book retailers, as people focus on essentials in the down economy and limit their book purchases. Shoppers also are shifting away from paper books toward electronic books, much as they have done with music, moving away from CDs toward digital downloads.