Shares of Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS) jumped as much as 21% on Friday after investor Richard Schottenfeld disclosed a higher stake in the bookseller and said he had discussed with its founder a possible sale of the company.
Schottenfeld disclosed a stake of 6.9% late on Thursday in a regulatory filing. His stake stood at 5.7% on July 12. Schottenfeld’s investment firm, Schottenfeld Management Corp, is Barnes & Noble’s fourth-largest shareholder, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Schottenfeld said he expects to continue his talks with the Company’s founder-chairman, Leonard Riggio, and its management over filling top leadership positions with executives who could reverse years of falling sales and consider all opportunities for a possible sale.
The Company fired Chief Executive Officer Demos Parneros in July over allegations of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior and said it would begin the process to find a replacement only after its annual shareholder meeting in early October.
A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman declined to comment on Schottenfeld’s filing but said the Company is not engaged in a process to sell itself.
Sales at Barnes & Noble’s bookstores have suffered for years as customers’ shopping habits increasingly move online. Even the Company’s Nook e-book reader has been largely overshadowed by Amazon’s Kindle and other tablets.
New York-based Barnes & Noble reported a bigger-than-expected first-quarter loss on Thursday, as sales were hit by a drop in demand and a glitch in the Company’s website that stopped customers from looking up if their local store had a book in stock.
However, on a post-earnings call with analysts, Barnes & Noble said it expects sales to pick in fall, thanks to a slew of book releases, including Watergate reporter Bob Woodward’s “Fear: Trump in the White House”.
The Company’s shares were up 11% at USD 5.05 in early afternoon trading on Friday.