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Actionable news in BKS: BARNES & NOBLE Inc,

Barnes & Noble Is Calling All Buyers — And We Mean All Inc.'s takeover of Whole Foods Market Inc. is giving retail investors a strange hope: Could it be that some of the very internet companies helping to obliterate brick-and-mortar chains may now also desire a physical store presence?

That's one of the arguments an activist shareholder is making at Barnes & Noble Inc., the bookseller whose eulogy was written years too soon. It still has a $580 million market value with nearly $4 billion of annual sales, albeit both figures are shrinking.

In a letter made public Tuesday, Sandell Asset Management Corp. said it acquired "a meaningful ownership stake" and urged Barnes & Noble's board to "conduct an expansive strategic alternative process," arguing that at this point the stock has been unduly clobbered and would be worth more to a host of buyers than it is to the public market. This is the same investor that agitated at Bob Evans Farms Inc., which wound up selling its restaurant business for an attractive price.

Sandell sees Barnes & Noble's stores as...