Liberty to cut Barnes & Noble stake to allow more 'flexibility'

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Liberty Media will cut its large stake in Barnes & Noble, the media company announced on Thursday, but will retain a 10 percent stake to allow the book seller "greater flexibility" to right itself.

In 2011, Liberty purchased a 17 percent stake in the beleaguered book retailer worth $204 million, which has struggled to compete in a world increasingly dominated by mobile devices and downloadable data.

The new ownership stake means Liberty will not have two preferred stock directors on B&N's board. As a result, current director Liberty president and CEO Greg Maffei will step down on April 8.

"By reducing our preferred position and eliminating some of our related rights, Barnes & Noble will gain greater flexibility to accomplish their strategic objectives," said Maffei said in a statement. "We look forward to maintaining our relationship with the company," he added.

The book seller's stock, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, slid by 10 percent to near $20 in early trading Thursday.