Barnes & Noble Shareholders Rubber-Stamp Poison Pill Measure
That made Wednesday's shareholders meeting to decide on the fate of the poison pill all but a formality. According to Reuters, founder, chairman, and newly re-elected board member Leonard Riggio announced that preliminary results showed 72% of the votes cast supported the poison pill, which will now stay in place for the next two years. Burkle and his company, Yucaipa Cos., did not solicit other shareholders to its position, deviating from his strategy before the previous meeting in September.
With formalities dispensed of, there's a small matter of the company's immediate and long-term future. B&N effectively put itself up for sale last August, and after reports that approximately 20 entities had expressed interest, The Wall Street Journal says that today, the number of potential buyers has dropped to between eight and 10 strategic companies and private-equity firms. Its newest e-reader, NOOKColor, has been getting mostly favorable reviews, and has already started shipping in advance of its announced Nov. 19 launch date. B&N has also made a more serious move into the toys and games market, debuting 3,000-square foot stores-within-stores in the New York tri-state area. And the general buzz around e-readers for the holidays puts B&N in a positive mood, with its digital market share well in hand.
Optimism, however, hardly translates into certainty of results. In advance of its next quarterly filing on Nov. 30, analysts forecast that B&N will lose $0.39 per share this year, based on 60.2 million shares outstanding. And while Burkle may have been thwarted in his plan to up his share count, he also cannot be counted out -- especially if Leonard Riggio, as expected, figures prominently in the company's possible sale.