Barnes & Noble shuts the book on a hostile takeover by billionaire Burkle

It seemed mighty curious when billionare Ron Burkle's private equity firm Yucaipa Cos. suddenly doubled its stake in Barnes & Noble (BKS) between November 10 and 13. Burkle last week scooped up more than 4 million shares of the bookseller -- boosting his stake from 8.3% to 16.3% -- at an average price of $20.05.

And Burkle's stock spree wasn't finished. On Monday, he bought another 457,000 shares, at an average price of $20.48, The Wall Street Journal reported -- boosting his stake to 10.2 million shares, or 17.8%. That makes him B&N's second-largest shareholder, after CEO and founder Len Riggio, who's been on a quiet grab campaign of his own, boosting his stake over the past year to 36.8%.