Beverly Hills billionaire Ron Burkle (according to Forbes,  America's 105th richest man)  recently bought a 8.3 percent stake in Barnes & Noble, according to Bloomberg News. Burkle may also reportedly seek further “talks” with the faltering company. Judging from the way Burkle usually conducts his business, the buy suggests how much the world's largest bookseller is hurting. Bloomberg reports that

Barnes & Noble lost 56 percent of its value in 2008 and all eyes will now be on what Burkle has in mind for the bookseller.

Ron Burkle: Judging a bookseller by its cover? (AP)

Burkle has made a very lucrative career of buying companies — most

notably the Ralph's supermarket chain — when they're performing badly. Then he turns them around and sells the company for a hefty profit. The billionaire probably has the same idea for the bookseller chain.

Burkle sometimes gets mired in controversy when it comes to his forays

into politics and flying around the world with Bill Clinton — which L:A.

Weekly detailed several months ago, in an exclusive interview with

the billionaire — but he has an extraordinary ability of buying the right

things at the right time. The Barnes & Noble deal, and the bookseller's

possible resurgence, should be one to watch over the long haul.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

LA Weekly