Liberty unloading majority of its Barnes & Noble shares

Liberty Media Corp. said Thursday that it is cutting its stake in Barnes & Noble Corp., sending the bookseller’s shares down sharply.

The investment company controlled by billionaire investor John Malone gave Barnes & Noble, the largest specialty bookstore chain, a lifeline in 2011 when it bought 12 million Barnes & Noble shares at $17 apiece. The shares represented a 17 percent stake in the company.

But now Liberty says it is selling the majority of its shares to institutional buyers. It will keep 10 percent of its original investment and lose its two board seats.

The change comes as Barnes & Noble has been trying to turn itself around as competition from discount stores and online retailers toughens, and as consumers shift away from traditional books to digital formats. The chain has invested heavily in its Nook unit, but that division has not been profitable.

In its most recent earnings report, Barnes & Noble reported a third-quarter profit as cost cuts helped offset declining revenue.

Lowe’s will pay $18.1 million over hazardous waste claims

North Carolina-based home-improvement retailing giant Lowe’s Cos. Inc. has agreed to pay $18.1 million to settle California claims that it illegally disposed of hazardous wastes at more than 100 of its home-improvement stores throughout the state.

The settlement, approved in Alameda Superior Court, closed a civil environmental prosecution following a joint investigation by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s Office of Criminal Investigations, more than 30 California district attorneys and the city attorneys of Los Angeles and San Diego. The civil enforcement action filed in Alameda County was led by the district attorneys of Alameda, San Joaquin and Solano counties, which alleged that more than 118 Lowe’s stores throughout the state unlawfully handled and disposed of hazardous wastes for 61/2 years.

The improperly discarded hazardous wastes and related materials included pesticides, aerosols, paint and colorants, solvents, adhesives, batteries, and fluorescent bulbs.

U.S. appeals court overturns $920 million DuPont award

A federal appeals court has overturned a jury decision awarding $920 million in damages to the DuPont Co. in a trade-secrets lawsuit involving high-strength synthetic fibers used in products such as Kevlar body armor.

The appeals court in Richmond, Va., said Thursday that a trial judge abused his discretion and prejudiced South Korea-based Kolon Industries in 2011 when he granted a pretrial motion by DuPont. The court said that in doing so, the judge excluded evidence material to Kolon’s defense.

The jury later found that Kolon had misappropriated 149 DuPont trade secrets involving aramid fiber technology.

— From news service reports