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Tara Lachapelle

Barnes & Noble Turns a Page With Private Owners

Unlike public shareholders, Elliott Management identifies some value.

A graceful decline is still a decline.

A graceful decline is still a decline.

Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg

Barnes & Noble Inc. is finally closing the books on its nearly 26 years as a publicly traded company.

Leonard Riggio, its 78-year-older founder and chairman, and the rest of the Barnes & Noble board agreed on Friday to sell the bookstore chain for $683 million (including debt) to funds affiliated with Elliott Management Corp., the investment firm led by billionaire Paul Singer. Elliott acquired Waterstones, a U.K. book retailer, a year ago, and it plans to have the Waterstones CEO manage Barnes & Noble’s operations as well once the transaction closes.