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Barnes & Noble shares jumped on Thursday on a report that an activist investor has proposed a deal to take the book chain private.

Shares in the New Jersey-based company rose more than 13 per cent to $7.40 after the Wall Street Journal reported that Sandell Asset Management, which owns a 1.4 per cent stake in Barnes & Noble, approached the bookstore chain with a plan to take it private at more than $650m, or $9 a share.

However, the report also said that Sandell did not have the financing in place for such a move.

Sandell first called for a sale of Barnes & Noble in July, arguing that the company’s “unconscionably low” market value fails to reflect its status as the “one truly national bookstore chain”.

Over the past few years, there have been several offers to sell or break up the company, including an attempt by founder and chairman Leonard Riggio to buy it. Past proposals to take Barnes & Noble private have failed.

Barnes & Noble shares are down more than 30 per cent so far this year.

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