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Barnes & Noble, Burkle: War Rages On

Barnes & Noble and Ron Burkle are unable to reach a truce.

(Barnes & Noble article updated with additional information on the inability between the company and investor Ron Burkle to reach agreement.)

NEW YORK (

TheStreet

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and billionaire investor Ron Burkle were unable to come to an agreement, meaning Burkle will continue with his proxy battle.

The bookseller issued the following statement this afternoon: "Barnes & Noble and Yucaipa were unable to conclude an agreement on mutually acceptable terms."

Earlier in the day reports surfaced saying Barnes & Noble was coming close to settling a lawsuit. The

Wall Street Journal

said the book seller will add two independent directors to its board and give another seat to Burkle's firm, Yucaipa. In exchange, Burkle would end his proxy battle.

But it seems the battle between the two will rage on. Burkle has been a proverbial thorn in Barnes & Noble's side since he attempted to increase his stake in the company without triggering its poison pill. A poison pill is generally put in place to prevent a hostile takeover. His request was denied and Burkle has spent the past year contending the poison pill.

Burkle, with a 19% stake in the company, is Barnes & Noble's largest shareholder, behind chairman Leonard Riggio. Burkle was attempting to gain a 37% stake.

It would arguably have been in Barnes & Noble's best interest to end this battle so it could turn its focus to the sale of the company. Management announced last week that it is exploring strategic alternatives for the company, which could include a sell off.

Riggio has said he would explore purchasing the company with a group of investors, and Burkle has also been named as a potential bidder.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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