NEW YORK-Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Chairman Leonard Riggio is said to be considering buying out the company’s bookstore portfolio.

The 71-year-old executive, who spearheaded Barnes & Noble’s rise as a bookstore retail giant in the 1980s and 1990s, is the company’s largest shareholder controlling approximately 30% of its common stock, according to the Wall Street Journal.

If Riggio moves forward with the purchase, the company could be split in two, according to people familiar with the situation, the newspaper reports.

While the firm’s market capitalization has fallen from $2.2 billion in 2001 to approximately $809 million, its retail stores are profitable, generating $317 million in earnings last year. See story in the Wall Street Journal.