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Liberty makes $1bn play for Barnes & Noble

Just hours before news broke that Britain's last major bookseller was changing hands, it emerged that similar moves were taking place the other side of the Atlantic, although on a much grander scale.

Liberty Media, which owns the QVC home shopping network, announced it had approached America's largest chain of book stores, Barnes & Noble, with a deal worth $1bn (£615m).

The retailer formed a special committee of the board of directors to review its strategy after pressure from the activist shareholder Ron Burkle. This body is now considering Liberty's $17 a share approach, a fifth higher than the closing price on Thursday. Barnes & Noble declined to say more. The shares soared by almost a third on the news, to well above the offer price.

Analysts believe Liberty will have to increase the value of its proposal if it wants to land the bookselling giant.

The analysts backed the potential tie-up saying it could provide Barnes & Noble with a stronger platform to compete with Amazon and Apple. The bookseller was founded 30 years ago by its chairman, Leonard Riggio.