Yesterday afternoon, Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) announced a definitive agreement to reacquire the 25% of (NASDAQ:BNBN) it doesn't currently own. Though the offer of $3.05 represents only a slight premium to Wednesday's close of $2.90, it is considerably better than the original, seemingly unfair bid of $2.50 made back on Nov. 6.

Here's how we got to this point: This past July, B&N announced its intention to purchase Bertelsmann AG's 37% stake at about $2.80 per share, closing the deal in September. At that point, B&N owned 75% of

By Nov. 6, when B&N made the $2.50 per share pitch for what was left, was trading at a mere $2.25 per share. Following the announcement, the stock didn't jump toward $2.50 as you might expect -- it jumped to $2.83 instead!

As Robert Barker wrote in a Dec. 8 BusinessWeekarticle, "the market expect[ed] B&N to ultimately raise its bid. Some shareholders are even suing, alleging that B&N's offer is unfairly low."

Apparently Barnes & Noble has those suits under control, while awarding shareholders a nice triple on the year. More importantly, it gets its baby back at a steep discount to its May 1999 IPO at $18 per share.

And there you have it: disappoints every investor who purchased its shares anywhere near its opening-day close of $22.94, then returns home a $150-million bargain. It wouldn't be the first time.

Got a thought? Venture over to the Barnes & Noble and discussion boards -- only at Jeff Hwang can be reached at