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Borders shareholder ready to fund takeover of Barnes & Noble

, On Tuesday 7 December 2010, 1:46 EST

The largest shareholder of bookstore chain Borders, investor William Ackman of Pershing Square Capital Management, is willing to shell out $900 million to takeover rival Barnes & Noble Inc., according to a regulatory filing.

Ackman said Pershing Square Capital Management, which holds a 15% stake in Borders, is prepared to bid $16 per share in an all-cash or stock-and-cash transaction, representing a 20% premium on Barnes & Noble's closing price of $13.28 last Friday.

Shares of Barnes & Noble rallied more than 14% to $15.18 in early trading.

Barnes & Noble put itself up for sale in August, saying its shares were "significantly undervalued." The company's stock value has plunged more than 30% this year.

At the time, the bookseller's founder and largest shareholder Leonard Riggio said he might join an investor group to buy Barnes & Noble.