Burkle could launch imminent bid for B&N

<p>The battle for control of Barnes &amp; Noble could be set to continue for months to come, despite a crucial shareholder meeting tomorrow [Tuesday].</p><p>Reuters reports billionaire Ron Burkle has a &quot;fighting chance&quot; of wresting control of the business from founder and chairman Leonard Riggio. Sources close to Burkle said if he does not win control of the business at the meeting, he is likely to bounce back with a bid for the chain.</p><p>Steve Mader, managing director of Korn/Ferry International&#39;s board services practice, said: &quot;They&#39;re far, far apart on a real strategy for Barnes &amp; Noble, and therefore there is no way they can co-exist. Offers are likely to start soon after the vote, either from one of the losers or from buyers watching on the sidelines.&quot;</p><p>Burkle, whose firm Yucaipa is the bookseller&#39;s second largest shareholder with an 18.8 percent stake, is being backed for election to the board by advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services to get on the board with two other directors. Aletheia Capital Management, which holds a 15.1 percent stake, is also likely to back the billionaire.</p><p>Barnes &amp; Noble and three advisory firms are backing Riggio and two outside directors for election, arguing ousting Riggio may be unwise, given his expertise of the business.</p><p>A war of words has broken out between the two camps with Burkle claiming Riggio has failed to amply combat the chain&#39;s sales decline. Riggio claims Burkle has failed to outline a clear strategy for the business.</p>