Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) is considering a proposal made by its founder to acquire the retail business.

Barnes & Noble issued a press release today saying that Leonard Riggio, the company's founder, largest stockholder, and chairman of the board, notified the board that he was interested in acquiring all of the assets of the retail segment.

The company operates 689 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states.

Riggio is not interested in acquiring the Nook business, with includes the company's digital and college segments. The purchase price has not been determined and negotiations are under way, but the deal is expected to be primarily a cash transaction if it materializes. Riggio would provide equity financing and may arrange debt financing as well.

Barnes & Noble reiterates that it's possible that no deal with take place, but it merely is exploring the possibility. Shares rallied as much as 11% on the news.