Burkle launches proxy fight

New York City The battle to control Barnes & Noble is officially on. On Thursday, billionaire investor Ronald W. Burkle nominated three directors to the company’s board after efforts to reach a settlement between the bookseller and Burkle’s Yucaipa Co. failed, and a Delaware state judge rejected Burkle's bid to overturn the bookseller’s poison pill, which limits an investors' stake in Barnes & Noble at 20%.

Burkle, who has a 19% stake in the company, is also asking shareholders to amend the poison pill provision.

"Yucaipa believes no legitimate corporate purpose is served by treating the Riggios more favorably than other stockholders," Yucaipa said in a statement.

The potential proxy fight could pose a major distraction for Barnes & Noble as the company begins to solicit bids for a potential takeover. It also intensifies a battle that has been going on for months between Burkle and Riggio. Both are considered potential bidders for the company.