Barnes & Noble shareholders reelected Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio and his slate to the board of the directors, rejecting financier Ron Burkle’s efforts to gain seats on the board. Shareholders also rejected a proposal put forth by Burkle’s Yucaipa Company to amend the poison pill “anti-takeover” provisions in the stockholder rights agreement.
The results of election were read by Riggio in a packed, standing room only auditorium at the Asia Society on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and the shareholders in attendance gave Riggio long sustained applause after his victory. Riggio's win came after a contentious campaign by Burkle to convince shareholders that the current board was too close to the Riggio family and was not operating in their best interest. Riggio countered by claiming Burkle’s Yucaipa Co. was working with Aletheia Research, an investment firm, to take over the company at a less than premium share price.
Shareholders also appear to have embraced B&N’s strategic plan to grow the company from $7.1 billion revnues to more than $9 billion by 2014 by investing $140 million in its digital program. Prior to the election results, CEO William Lynch laid the plan out again for shareholders in attendance, outlining an emphasis on B&N on growing B&N college (offering new, used, rental and digital texts) and BN.com as well as increase its share of the e-book market to 25% by 2014. Lynch also outlined plans to increase B&N’s share of the bookstore market to 20% by 2014 and plans to add new categories such as toys, games and electronic goods both online and in-store.