Borders may target its rival
Pershing Square offers to fund bid
NEW YORK — The activist investor William Ackman yesterday offered to finance a $16-per-share Borders-led takeover bid for rival bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc.
Ackman and his Pershing Square Capital Management said they would be willing to fund a cash offer that would value Barnes & Noble at about $963.2 million. That is nearly 21 percent more than Barnes & Noble’s closing price on Friday.
In documents filed with regulators, Ackman disclosed a 37 percent stake in Borders, up from 31.5 percent in May.
An alternative to the $16-per-share cash offer, Ackman said, would be a stock-and-cash offer.
Ackman is known for getting involved in companies he holds stakes in. He has successfully agitated for changes at McDonald’s Corp., Wendy’s International Inc., and Target Corp.
Borders spokeswoman Mary Davis said, “We have previously expressed to Barnes & Noble our interest in such a business combination, and we look forward to continuing those discussions.’’ Barnes & Noble had no comment.
Barnes & Noble put itself up for sale this year during a dispute with investor Ron Burkle, who wished to increase his 19 percent stake. The company implemented a plan limiting single investors to 20 percent. Burkle subsequently lost a battle to gain seats on the bookseller’s board.
Barnes & Noble said late last month it still is meeting with “both strategic and financial institutions’’ but that review might not result in a sale or any other deal.