June 7 (UPI) -- Activist investment firm Elliott Management has agreed to pay $683 million to acquire major U.S. bookseller Barnes & Noble, the companies announced Friday.
The deal values Barnes & Noble at $6.50 per share and includes the company's debts. Its board of directors unanimously approved the sale.
"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Elliott, the owner of Waterstones, a bookseller I have admired over the years," Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio said in a statement.
Barnes & Noble has 627 locations in 50 states and remains the top bookseller in the United States. It's faced heavy competition, however, from retailers like Amazon and has lost about $1 billion in market value over the past five years.
Last year, Elliott acquired British bookseller Waterstone -- whose former chief executive, James Daunt, will take over as the new CEO of Barnes & Noble after the deal closes.