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Barnes & Noble's

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story will most likely end with a buyout by private equity, according to



In this week's poll on the fate of Barnes & Noble, 38.2% of voters said the No. 1 bookseller will find a buyer and be taken private.

These results come after Barnes & Noble reported disappointing third-quarter earnings and declined to provide guidance for the remainder of the year. The company also said it will suspend its quarterly dividend in an effort to preserve liquidity.

For the three-month period, Barnes & Noble reported a profit of $60.6 million, or $1 a share, down 24% from $80.4 million, or $1.38, in the year prior. Revenue rose 7% to $2.33 billion, while same-store sales jumped 7%.

>>The Borders Story: Is This the Final Chapter

Wall Street was calling for a profit of $1.13 a share on revenue of $2.38 billion.

Barnes & Noble said it is suspending its 25-cent quarterly dividend to preserve its cash to invest in growing its e-reader business, and declined to provide a fourth-quarter forecast, due to Borders bankruptcy last week.

The company put itself up for sale last summer, and prior to a


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bankruptcy it was speculated that the two companies would merge.

According to the poll, 30.6% say Barnes & Noble will take itself off the block and continue to operate as normal, while 22% believe the company will suffer the same fate as Borders and file for Ch. 11.

Just 9.2% of voters said Barnes & Noble will purchase some of Borders assets out of bankruptcy.

Borders entered bankruptcy protection last week as it grappled with mounting debt and credit concerns. The company said it will continue to operate while in bankruptcy court, but announced that it will shutter 200 locations.

Barnes & Noble may take advantage of Borders' store closures, saying during its conference call with analysts that it is considering opening some stores in the locations being vacated by Borders.

Shares of Barnes & Noble have fallen 26% since the announcement, closing on Friday at $13.71.

--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

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