Barnes & Noble intends to separate its college business from its Nook and retail businesses, it announced Thursday, creating two separate publicly traded companies. The move is supposed to be completed by August.
B&N CEO Michael Huseby pulled out all the possible jargon to describe the split:
Separating Barnes & Noble Education will create an industry-leading, pure-play public company with more flexibility to pursue strategic opportunities in the growing educational services markets. At the same time, Barnes & Noble will be able to better capitalize on improving industry trends and merchandising initiatives within its core Retail business. Retail and the Nook Digital Business will be able to leverage a more integrated technology infrastructure for improved efficiency and to better serve digital customers.
It’s a little crazy how far [company]Barnes & Noble[/company] has sunk since I started reporting on it four years ago. During that time, it has announced a number of possible splits, spinoffs, partnerships and acquisitions over the past few years that haven’t panned out. Last June, for instance, the company said that it wanted to split off Nook as a separate, publicly traded company by the first quarter of 2015, and in December it bought back Microsoft and Pearson’s shares in Nook, seemingly setting the groundwork for a spinoff or sale.
Thursday’s announcement, however, makes it sound as if that isn’t happening: “Nook will continue to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc.”
Here are B&N’s earnings, by segment, for the quarter ending November 1, 2014. The company next reports earnings on March 10, 2015.