NEW YORK (AP) — Investment firm G Asset has offered to buy 51 percent of the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain for about $672 million.
The New York firm says its offer is for $22 per share, 31 percent above the stock's closing price on Thursday. Barnes & Noble has about 60 million shares outstanding.
Its stock rose 93 cents, or 5.5 percent, to $17.71 in afternoon trading.
G Asset says Barnes & Noble is "substantially undervalued." The retailer is trying to turn around its results as more consumers buy books online or in a digital format. The New York company's sales fell 6.6 percent at its bookstores and online during the critical holiday shopping season. It has invested heavily in its Nook e-book business but sales in that unit are also dropping.
If the bid were successful, G Asset would spin off the Nook business into its own venture, separate from Barnes & Noble's retail stores and college bookstores.
New York-based Barnes & Noble said Friday that it has received the offer but did not comment further.
This isn't G Asset's first dance with the bookseller.
The firm, managed by Michael Glickstein, a former director of research at hedge fund Mercer Partners, made an offer to buy 51 percent of Barnes & Noble's bookstore business in 2012. G Asset wanted to spin off the chain's college bookstores under that plan, but nothing came of that offer.