B&N chair and founder Len Riggio publically addressed shareholders for the first time since deciding not to purchase half of the company, according to Publishers Weekly. The meeting got a bit heated at one point.
From Publishers Weekly:
Riggio was genial, confident and expansive with individual shareholders though perhaps a bit testy with the institutional shareholders who pressured him repeatedly over the future of the Nook Media division.
The Nook division has been struggling. During an investors call earlier in August, BN revealed its Nook division saw a drop of 20.2 percent from $192 million to $153 million compared to this time last year. This undoubtedly left many shareholders concerned with the future of the company and question the choices that have been made.
One of the more interesting comments came from Gregory Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, a major shareholder that owns about 17% of B&N, according to PW.
“Look, no one is happy with Nook, we know we need a new e-reader strategy but it’s not easy when you look at [the competitors] we’re up against.” Maffei said, “It’s not like Liberty Media is against split-offs but it would be difficult to do at this time.”
Publishers Weekly also reported:
But after repeated questions on both topics—dividends or split the company—including at least one more question on his own no-buy decision, Riggio seemed to have had enough, especially on whether he was going to buy B&N retail. “I’m not obliged to talk about personal decisions,” he said pointedly to one shareholder, who began to retreat from the question once it was clear Riggio was a getting a little hot under the collar. “One side is demanding I buy retail, others stay I’m stealing retail. So I don’t know where you go from there.” Riggio continued, emphasizing, “I love this company and this business so it’s not all about money. It’s more personal. I don’t want to buy retail and I don’t have to say why.”