Barnes & Noble Says Burkle Aims for Control

(Reuters) – Barnes & Noble Co (BKS.N) lashed out against activist investor Ronald Burkle on Wednesday, saying the billionaire was trying to wrest control of the bookseller through a proxy battle without paying a proper premium to shareholders.

Burkle is running an alternate slate of three directors, including himself, for election to Barnes & Noble’s board at the company’s annual meeting on Sept. 28.

Earlier this month, Barnes & Noble put itself up for sale. But the subsequent proxy battle with Burkle is seen as complicating or even derailing the sale process.

In its “fight letter” to encourage shareholders to support the company-nominated directors, Barnes & Noble said Burkle may team up with another top investor, Aletheia Research & Management, to try to take control without paying shareholders a premium. (Reporting by Michele Gershberg, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)