Barnes & Noble has certainly seen better days. They're expecting a huge loss on their NOOK business, and they could close 30% of their stores this year (but may possibly open a few new ones in different locations. With all this said, it's no wonder that the company is looking to change some things around. In fact, the company's founder, Leonard Riggio, is pondering the idea of buying the company back from shareholders.
Riggio is already the largest shareholder of the company, and is also the Chairman of the Board. He's pondering the purchase of all of the assets of Barnes & Noble's retail business, according to an amendment to his Schedule 13D filed today with the SEC. It's also been rumored that the company may steer away from hardware after the buyout happens, but nothing is confirmed on that front.
Of course, Barnes & Nobles emphasizes that Riggio's proposal will result in any kind of transaction, and there's currently no timetable for the Strategic Committee’s review, which will the committee that will oversee the proposal. Barnes & Noble doesn't have any further details on Riggio's proposal, and doesn't plan to say anything more until a final decision has been made.
This wouldn't be the first time that a big company has gone private recently. Dell ended up going private a couple of weeks ago, when founder and CEO Michael Dell bought back all shares with help from Microsoft. Perhaps Riggio liked Dell's idea and may try it out for himself. In the meantime, we could see an overhaul of Barnes & Noble, but don't hold your breath just yet.