Barnes & Noble
key shareholder William Ackman said he is prepared to fund a takeover bid for
Barnes & Noble
Ackman's Pershing Square Capital Management said it would fund an offer of $16 per share for Barnes & Noble, valuing the deal at about $963.2 million.
The bid would represent a 20.5% premium over Barnes & Noble's closing price on Friday of $13.38.
Ackman owns 37% of Borders shares.
Barnes & Noble put itself up for sale this summer, saying it is considering strategic alternatives for the company. Since the announcement, speculation over potential bidders has run rampant, with the spotlight flashing on private-equity players like
. Fears have also grown in certain quarters that Barnes & Noble may not be able to find a buyer, raising a red flag for the entire book industry.
Barnes & Noble's chairman and largest shareholder, Leonard Riggio previously said that he would consider teaming with a group of investors to make a bid on the company that he took public in 1993.
"I fully support the Board's decision to evaluate strategic alternatives at this time," Riggio said in a statement this summer. "Regardless of whether I participate in an investment group that buys the company, I, as well as the entire senior management team, am willing and eager to remain with the company and see it through the challenging years ahead."
Ron Burkle, who waged a proxy battle against Barnes & Noble, was also believed to be eyeing the No.1 book seller.