G Asset Management offers to take control of US bookstore chain Barnes & Noble

Private investment firm G Asset Management yesterday offered to buy a controlling 51 per cent stake in either US bookstore chain Barnes & Noble Inc or its Nook digital business.

G Asset's proposal values Barnes & Noble at $22 a share, or at $1.32 billion, a 30 per cent premium over the stock's closing price on Thursday.

G Asset's offer for a 51 per cent stake in Barnes & Noble's e-book business, values the Nook unit at $5 a share or about $300 million.

This is the second time in three months the New York-based investment firm has made an offer to buy a majority stake in Barnes & Noble, the largest bookstore chain in the US.

G Asset said that it had tabled a $20 a share in November 2013 and urged the company to separate its loss making Nook unit by spinning it off to existing shareholders

Barnes & Noble had early last year looked at splitting its businesses after Leonard Riggio, chairman, founder and the company's largest shareholder said that he planned to put up its 680 stores and website for sale.

But after conducting a review for four months, Barnes & Noble abandoned plans separating its retail stores from its Nook operations.

It also decided to cease making its own colour tablets in order to reduce costs, a move widely seen as an acknowledgment that it had not been able to compete against popular brands like Amazon's Kindle Fire and Apple's iPad.

Microsoft Corp and Pearson Plc are both investors in Barnes & Noble's Nook unit.