QVC Parent Company Looking at Bricks & Mortar–and Barnes & Noble

QVC parent company Liberty Media is making a play for Barnes & Noble, partly because it think sthere’s value in Barnes & Noble’s chain of retail stores.

Kindof ironic given that QVC a) thrives in part because it doesn’t have to maintain a huge network of retail stores and b) recently closed its Mall of America retail store.

Liberty Media execs also think the Nook e-reader’s potential to “become the e-book application of choice” tablets built on the Android operating system is a good reason to make its offer for 70 percent of Barnes & Noble.  Plus, a successful bid for Barnes & Noble could yield tax benefits for Liberty Media as it closes stores losing money.

But don’t bet on QVC to dump the largely third-tier tablets it’s selling now in favor of all-Nook, all the time if the Barnes & Noble deal goes through:

Liberty’s chairman, billionaire John Malone…said the Barnes & Noble bid wasn’t driven by potential synergies with his other investments, which include the QVC home-shopping network and the Starz premium-cable network.  “It’s a slow process to find cross-business synergies when you don’t have absolute control,” Malone said. “I think it’s important not to overplay the Barnes & Noble investment. Yes, it’s a lot of money. But no, we’re not betting the company on it.”

P.S. Remember the stock split deal we wrote about last month? The one that would put a little more shine on the Q? Well, it was approved by shareholders.  The consummation of the deal (Liberty Media’s word, not mine) is still contingent upon on a final non-appealable judgment in a related court case.

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