Barnes & Noble chairman Leonard Riggio increased his stake in the company by exercising options for nearly a million shares at $16.96, over $1 a share more than the market price.  The move increases the number of shares he can vote in his proxy battle against billionaire Ron Burkle (see “Proxy Fight at Barnes & Noble”) for control of the nation’s largest book retailer. 


Negotiations to resolve the dispute between Burkle and management broke down last week, setting the stage for a battle for control fo the board.


Barnes & Noble is for sale, and both Burkle and Riggio are considered candidates to take it private. 


After exercising the options, Riggio controls nearly 30% of the company’s stock.