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   Non-TechBarnes & Noble (BKS)


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To: zax who wrote (1670)2/13/2013 6:17:08 PM
From: Sr K
   of 1691
 
Time to update that chart.

wsj.com

MEDIA & MARKETING | Updated February 13, 2013, 5:40 p.m. ET
Barnes & Noble Warns on Nook Businessu

By JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG

Barnes & Noble Inc. said on Wednesday that its Nook business will perform worse for the fiscal year ended April 27 than forecast as recently as early January.

The retailer said that the Nook business, which includes tablets, e-readers and e-books, would have losses before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization greater than in fiscal 2012, when its Ebitda losses amounted to about $262 million.

The statement contrasted with the retailer's early January statement the Nook losses would be about comparable to 2012.

Barnes & Noble also said that its fiscal year 2013 Nook Media revenue, which includes the college bookstores as well as the Nook devices and e-books, will be less than $3 billion. In early January the bookseller said that it expected that revenue would be about $3 billion.

In addition, Barnes & Noble delayed its earnings reporting date to Feb. 28, from its originally scheduled date of Feb. 19.

Write to Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at jeffrey.trachtenberg@wsj.com

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To: Sr K who wrote (1671)2/13/2013 6:54:53 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 1691
 
As opposed to:

Amazon shares climb on Kindle e-book optimism

By Alistair Barr
Reuters
Published February 13, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – Amazon.com Inc shares climbed more than 4 percent on Tuesday after an analyst note fueled optimism about the company's Kindle e-book business.

The e-book market is a lot bigger than previously thought, and owners of Kindle e-readers and tablets are reading more e-books, Morgan Stanley's Scott Devitt, a leading Internet and e-commerce analyst, told investors in the research note.

Devitt estimated worldwide e-book unit sales of 859 million in 2012, up considerably from a previous estimate of 567 million. With almost 45 percent of the e-book market, Amazon likely sold 383 million e-books last year, compared with an earlier estimate of 252 million, the analyst added.

Amazon's broader strategy is to sell mobile devices at or near cost and make money when consumers use the gadgets to buy digital content, including e-books, music, videos, apps and games.

Devitt said on Wednesday that the strategy may be working with e-books, one of Amazon's oldest digital categories.

"We initially assumed that early adopters of eReader devices would be avid readers and, therefore, the marginal buyer would read less," Devitt wrote.

However, data from a recent Amazon presentation show that consumers who bought a Kindle in 2011 read 4.6 times more e-books, on average, in the 12 months following their gadget purchase, compared with the 12 months before getting the device, the analyst noted.

Similar data from 2008 show consumers reading e-books 2.6 times as much after their Kindle device purchase, on average, according to Devitt.

The success of Amazon's Kindle business is important because it is more profitable than some of the company's other operations, Devitt said.

The Kindle business, which includes the gadgets and related digital content sales, generated about 11 percent of Amazon's sales last year and 34 percent of the company's consolidated segment operating income, or CSOI, Devitt estimated. The CSOI is a closely watched measure of Amazon's profitability.

"The Kindle franchise is a profit pool that subsidizes investments in other growth initiatives," Devitt wrote.

Amazon shares rose 4.1 percent to $269.30 in afternoon trading on Wednesday.

(Reporting By Alistair Barr; editing by Gunna Dickson)

foxbusiness.com

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From: Glenn Petersen2/24/2013 8:43:35 PM
   of 1691
 
Barnes & Noble chairman may bid for company's bookstores: WSJ

NEW YORK | Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:34pm EST

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barnes & Noble Inc ( BKS.N) Chairman Leonard Riggio is considering a bid for the company's bookstore business, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the situation.

Riggio is the company's largest shareholder with a nearly 30 percent stake. He pioneered the book superstore format in the 1980s and 1990s.

According to the Journal, Riggio would take the company's 689 retail stores private, splitting that business from its Nook e-reader and tablet business and its college store chain.

Riggio's interest so far has been tentative, the report said. One person told the Journal that Riggio would make his interest formal this week and publicly disclose it.

A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman declined to comment on the report. She said Riggio also had no comment.

Barnes & Noble's retail business has struggled in recent years as more book buyers have switched to digital formats.

The company saw a short-lived rise in sales after the September 2011 liquidation of rival Borders Group.

But Barnes & Noble reported poor holiday sales at all its divisions in 2012. The company posted a 10.9 percent decrease in sales at its bookstores and on its website over the year-end holiday period.

The bookseller said in January last year that it might spin off its digital and e-reader business. It created a separate unit for its Nook and college bookstore chains called Nook Media. That unit has drawn investments from Microsoft Corp ( MSFT.O) and British education and media publisher Pearson Plc ( PSON.L).

The Nook, launched in 2009 to compete with Amazon.com Inc's ( AMZN.O) market-leading Kindle, has been the cornerstone of Barnes & Noble's strategy to counter the shift by many readers to digital books.

The company has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the unit, but questions about its value have swirled after the disappointing holiday season.

Earlier this month, Barnes & Noble said its 2013 loss for Nook would be deeper than expected and sales at the unit would fall short of the $3 billion the company had forecast.

(Reporting by Michael Erman and Phil Wahba; Editing by Dale Hudson)

reuters.com

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From: Glenn Petersen2/24/2013 8:54:00 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1691
 
Barnes & Noble Weighs Its E-Reader Investment

By LESLIE KAUFMAN
New York Times
February 24, 2013

Even for a company with a lot of bad news lately, the bulletin from Barnes & Noble this month had an ominous feel.

Barnes & Noble, the nation’s largest book chain, warned that when it reports fiscal 2013 third-quarter results on Thursday, losses in its Nook Media division — which includes sales of e-books and devices — will be greater than the year before and that the unit’s revenue for all of fiscal 2013 would be far below projections it gave of $3 billion.

The problem was not so much the extent of the losses, but what the losses might signal: that the digital approach that Barnes & Nobles has been heavily investing in as its future for the last several years has essentially run its course.

A person familiar with Barnes & Nobles’s strategy acknowledged that this quarter, which includes holiday sales, has caused executives to realize the company must move away from its program to engineer and build its own devices and focus more on licensing its content to other device makers.

“They are not completely getting out of the hardware business, but they are going to lean a lot more on the comprehensive digital catalog of content,” said this person, who asked not to be identified discussing corporate strategy.

On Thursday, the person said, the company will emphasize its commitment to intensify partnerships with other tablet producers like Microsoft and Samsung to make deals for content that it controls.

If Barnes & Noble does indeed pull back from building tablets, it would be a 180-degree shift for a company that as late as last year was promoting the Nook as its future. “Had we not launched devices and spent the money we invested in the Nook, investors and analysts would have said, ’Barnes & Noble is crazy, and they’re going to go away,’ ” William Lynch, the company’s chief executive, said in an interview last January.

Since 2009, when Barnes & Noble first decided to invest in building the device, its financial commitment to the division has been substantial. (The company does not disclose exact figures.) At the beginning of 2012, that bet seemed to be paying off and the digital future seemed hopeful.

In May, Microsoft decided to give a cash infusion to the product by pledging more than $600 million to Nook Media. In December, the British textbook publisher Pearson bought a 5 percent stake in the unit for nearly $90 million.

Going into the 2012 Christmas season, the Nook HD, Barnes & Noble’s entrant into the 7-inch and 9-inch tablet market, was winning rave reviews from technology critics who praised its high-quality screen. Editors at CNET called it “a fantastic tablet value” and David Pogue in The New York Times told readers choosing between the Nook HD and Kindle Fire that the Nook “is the one to get.”

But while tablet sales exploded over the Christmas season, Barnes & Noble was not a beneficiary. Buyers preferred Apple devices by a long mile but then went on to buy Samsung, Amazon and Google products before those of Barnes & Noble, according to market analysis by Forrester Research.

“In many ways it is a great product,” Sarah Rotman Epps, a senior analyst at Forrester, said of the Nook tablet. “It was a failure of brand, not product.

“The Barnes & Noble brand is just very small,” she added. “It has done a great job at engaging its existing customers but failed to expand their footprint beyond that.”

Others pointed out that even if the Nook itself was a nice device, its offerings were not as rich as that of its rivals. Shaw Wu, a senior analyst at Sterne Agee, a midsize investment bank in San Francisco, said, “It is a very tough space. It is highly competitive, and extras like the depth of apps are very important. But it requires funding and a lot of attention, and Barnes & Noble is competing against companies like Apple and Google, which literally have unlimited resources.”

Horace Dediu, an independent analyst based in Finland who focuses on the mobile industry, said that the difference in quality among the products was so small as to be increasingly irrelevant.

“We’ve moved beyond a game of specs,” he said. “Now it is about your business model, about distribution and economics of scale.”

He said that while the cellphone business used to have numerous competitors, it now has only two companies that are really profitable: Apple and Samsung. He said he expected a similar consolidation in the tablet market, with companies like Barnes & Noble “maybe falling off the map.”

There is no immediate danger to the book retailer, which has some 677 stores nationwide. The company has said it plans to close about 15 unprofitable stores a year and replace them at a much slower rate. It also still holds roughly one quarter of the digital sales of books and more of magazines.

Still, the threat is large enough that Barnes & Noble executives are working hard to determine a strategy that focuses on core strengths like content distribution. Its content is its “crown jewel,” said the person familiar with the company’s strategy, “and where the profitable income stream lies.”

nytimes.com

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (1674)3/22/2013 4:33:32 PM
From: FUBHO
   of 1691
 
Barnes & Noble: Buy a Nook tablet, get a Nook e-reader free
by Laura Hazard Owen

2 HOURS AGO
No Comments A A


photo: Barnes & Noble

SUMMARY:Barnes & Noble is running a weeklong promotion: Customers who buy a Nook HD+ tablet (starting at $269) will get a Nook Simple Touch e-reader ($79) for free.

Barnes & Noble is seemingly trying to get some stock off its hands with a new, week-long promotion: Anybody who buys a Nook HD+ tablet between March 24 and 31 will get a Nook Simple Touch e-reader (the non-front-lit version) for free.

The offer applies at Barnes & Noble retail and college stores, online, and third-party retailers Walmart, Best Buy and Target. The Nook HD+ tablet, which has a 9-inch screen and is Barnes & Noble’s answer to Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, is $269 for the 16 GB model and $299 for the 32 GB model. The Nook Simple Touch is normally $79.

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To: FUBHO who wrote (1675)3/27/2013 3:49:47 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 1691
 
A great deal for consumers, but very costly for Barnes & Noble. Amazon is willing to absorb low hardware margins because they know that the hardware will be used to purchase other goods from Amazon. Other than books, Barnes & Noble does not have a lt to sell.

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From: Glenn Petersen5/9/2013 3:24:35 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1691
 
BKS up over 20% today.

Microsoft Mulling Nook Media LLC Purchase For $1 Billion

Eric Eldon
and Ingrid Lunden
TechCrunch
May 9, 2013

Microsoft is offering to pay $1 billion to buy the digital assets of Nook Media LLC, the digital book and college book joint venture with Barnes & Noble and other investors, according to internal documents we’ve obtained. In this plan, Microsoft would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which also includes a college book division, leaving it with the digital operation — e-books, as well as Nook e-readers and tablets.

The documents also reveal that Nook Media plans to discontinue its Android-based tablet business by the end of its 2014 fiscal year as it transitions to a model where Nook content is distributed through apps on “third-party partner” devices. Speculation about the plan to discontinue the Nook surfaced in February. The documents we have are not clear on whether the third-party tablets would be Microsoft’s own Windows 8 devices, tablets made by others (including competing platforms) or both. Third-party tablets, according to the document, are due to get introduced in 2014.

Nook e-readers, meanwhile, do not appear to fall into the discontinuation pile immediately. Rather, they’re projected to have their own gradual, natural decline — following the general trend of consumers moving to tablets as all-purpose devices.

Microsoft and B&N representatives declined to comment for this story.

A deal to buy the digital assets of Nook Media is the natural next step for Microsoft, which first announced a plan to work with Barnes & Noble on its Nook devices and content in April 2012, ponying up $300 million at the time to help. That plan included an additional $180 million advance to develop content for its Windows 8 devices — which Nook has been doing.

To date, there have been 10 million Nook devices sold, including both tablets and e-readers, with more than 7 million active subscribers. Microsoft has seen limited interested in its Windows 8 devices (although it says it has sold more than 100 million licenses for the OS to date). Currently the Nook app is available on every major platform, including Android, iOS and Windows.

Nook Media split from the retail arm last October with a $300 million investment by Microsoft for a 16.8 percent stake in the company. The partnership was aimed at getting B&N content on then-nascent Windows 8 tablets. At the time, President of Digital Product at Nook Media, Jamie Iannone, said “It’s hardware, software, content: everything Nook is part of Nook Media. There will always be a long-term relationship between Barnes & Noble and the Nook business.”

Nook’s decline seems to have helped alter company strategy. Barnes & Noble founder Leonard Riggio proposed buying back the whole of the company’s retail operation.

The documents TC has seen values B&N at $1.66 billion. When Nook Media was first formed, the valuation of that division alone was $1.7 billion. When Pearson invested $85 million at a 5 percent stake in January, it was valued at $1.8 billion. If the deal goes through, Microsoft’s $1 billion purchase will be well below the price it had originally bought in at.

The documents, which are based on company filings and management discussions, show the Nook unit brought in total revenue of $1.215 billion for fiscal year 2012 (which for Barnes & Noble ends every April 30th), for a loss of $262 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). It expects revenue to fall to $1.091 billion in fiscal year 2013, for a loss of $360 million as tablets are phased out — and estimates revenues to gradually recover, up to $1.976 billion by fiscal year 2017, for EBITDA profit of $362 million.

In the meantime, the Nook division has taken a beating this year following a slow holiday season. The new models have sold at a discount for weeks at a time and their flagship 10-inch Nook HD+ fell from $269 to $179. Kindle is offering the Fire HD for the same price. The hardware, while in many ways superior to Amazon’s, seems to have fallen behind in the race to market share and revenue. If Microsoft steps in, the dedicated e-reader race between the stalwart B&N and Jeff Bezos’ Amazon could be over.

John Biggs contributed to this article.

techcrunch.com

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From: Sr K5/14/2013 10:31:53 AM
   of 1691
 
8:53AM On The Wires ( WIRES) :

NOOK Media, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble (BKS) launched its updated NOOK for Apple (AAPL) iOS app.

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To: Sr K who wrote (1678)7/9/2013 10:21:10 AM
From: Glenn Petersen
1 Recommendation   of 1691
 
Barnes & Noble CEO resigns after Nook sales slump

Alistair Barr and Dhanya Skariachan
Reuters
8:31 p.m. CDT, July 8, 2013

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Barnes & Noble Inc CEO William Lynch resigned on Monday, an acknowledgement that its digital division Nook has failed to compete successfully in the e-reader and tablet markets and possibly presaging a further shake-up in the company.

Chairman and founder Leonard Riggio, the largest shareholder of Barnes & Noble, said the company is reviewing its strategic plan and announced a series of executive changes.

The new appointments suggest Riggio may be stepping up efforts to re-organize the company by separating the Nook business from the chain of hundreds of Barnes & Noble physical stores.

But with Microsoft Corp and Pearson Plc in the wings as minority stakeholders in Nook, it's not clear how this will be all be resolved, analysts said.

Signs that Barnes & Noble had come to a turning point with Nook came in the latest quarter, when it reported dismal results, led by a 34 percent drop in Nook sales. It also said it would stop making Nook tablets, marking the end of a costly attempt to compete with Amazon , Apple and Google in the tablet wars.

The operator of the largest chain of bookstores in the United States, has been hit hard by Amazon, which has won market share by selling physical books more cheaply online. Amazon, the world's largest Internet retailer, inflicted more damage when its Kindle e-reader became a hit and e-book sales took off about five years ago.

Borders, another big bookstore chain, went bust in 2011. But Barnes & Noble survived to challenge Amazon in the e-book market. Lynch became CEO about three years ago and led the development of the Nook e-book store, e-readers and tablets.

"Lynch was highly instrumental in making Nook a centerpiece in Barnes & Noble's broader operational strategy," Alan Rifkin, an analyst at Barclays, wrote in a note to investors on Monday.

"With this announcement, Barnes & Noble is, in our view, signaling that it is attempting to reduce its dependence upon the Nook."

The company did not name a new CEO but Chief Financial Officer Michael Huseby was named chief executive of the Nook Media unit and president of the parent company. Max Roberts, CEO of the company's education business, will report to Huseby. Huseby and Mitchell Klipper, CEO of the retail stores, will report to Riggio.

Shares in the Barnes & Noble fell 2.6 percent to $17.20 in after-market trading on Monday.

MINORITY INTERESTS

Last year, Microsoft acquired 17 percent of Nook in a deal that valued the unit at $1.7 billion. In December, British publisher Pearson bought a 5 percent stake in the business, valuing it at $1.8 billion.

Barnes & Noble shares surged more than 20 percent in May after technology website TechCrunch reported that Microsoft was considering an offer to buy the tablet and e-book parts of the Nook business. The stock has since given up those gains.

Meanwhile, Riggio said earlier this year that he wanted to buy Barnes & Noble's chain of nearly 700 namesake bookstores from the parent company.

"The next step is Chairman Leonard Riggio deciding if he's going to bid to buy the retail division and from that they'll then decide what to do with the Nook," Maxim Group analyst John Tinker said.

"Do they close it down? Do they reintegrate it back in the company? What happens to minority investors, Microsoft and Pearson? It all can be driven by the Chairman," he added.

Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating declined to comment on Riggio's plans.

The company is looking for a partner to make Nook color tablets under a "co-branding" agreement. It will continue to make black and white Nook e-readers and will still sell the tablets in its stores, she said.

(Additional reporting by Arpita Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Carol Bishopric, Leslie Gevirtz and Edwina Gibbs)

chicagotribune.com

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To: Sr K who wrote (1678)7/9/2013 10:39:57 PM
From: Glenn Petersen
   of 1691
 
Fork in the Road for a Bookseller

By JULIE BOSMAN
New York Times
July 9, 2013

William Lynch was brimming with the enthusiasm of a start-up entrepreneur. It was January 2012, and Mr. Lynch, Barnes & Noble’s chief executive, was showing off the company’s shiny Palo Alto, Calif., offices, a 300-person outpost that was the center of its e-reader operations.

He and other executives proudly displayed their new devices, talked about plans to expand and promised that the bookstore chain could go head-to-head with the giants of Silicon Valley.

“We’re a technology company, believe it or not,” Mr. Lynch said.

But only 16 months later, Barnes & Noble’s digital plans are crumbling. Last month, a disastrous earnings report coincided with the company’s announcement that it would no longer manufacture color tablets. And on Monday, Barnes & Noble announced that Mr. Lynch, the young, tech-savvy architect of the company’s digital strategy, had abruptly resigned. A new chief executive was not named.

That leaves the nation’s only major bookstore chain without a clear path forward, reviving fears among publishers, authors and agents — who are deeply dependent on a viable Barnes & Noble — about its future.

Barnes & Noble executives have acknowledged one fact: the digital business that was to be the centerpiece of its growth strategy must be retooled.

After introducing its first black-and-white e-reader in 2009, called the Nook, Barnes & Noble joined the tablet race, a move that industry experts have pointed to as a source of the company’s current troubles. Barnes & Noble’s inexpensive color tablets aimed for a niche in the market below the iPad. But while the company grabbed close to 25 percent of the e-book market, its digital division was getting pummeled by larger competitors, and bleeding money.

“Barnes & Noble was in a Catch-22. They had to do something in digital and Nook was their best shot at it,” said Peter Wahlstrom, a retail analyst with Morningstar Equity Research. “William Lynch had a good vision, but he was overwhelmed and fighting with one hand behind his back.”

Mr. Lynch’s departure, which was effective immediately, leaves Leonard Riggio, the chairman of Barnes & Noble, with a much more visible and powerful role within the company. Mr. Riggio, who built the company into a national force, is known to cherish the physical bookstores. His increased influence, analysts said, could shift the company’s focus more toward the retail side of the business.

Mr. Riggio, the public face of Barnes & Noble for decades, declined a request for an interview on Tuesday. But in meetings and memos in the last two days, Barnes & Noble employees have been assured that despite the recent tumult, their fundamental mission remains the same.

“As you know, we reported year-end results two weeks ago, and Barnes & Noble Retail and Barnes & Noble College delivered very solid performances and remain profitable businesses,” Mr. Riggio wrote in an e-mail to employees after the resignation of Mr. Lynch was announced. “While the losses were significant in the Nook business, I feel certain we will get the business back on track.”

For the fiscal fourth quarter, the Nook unit showed a $177 million loss in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or Ebitda, more than doubling the loss from the period a year earlier. Sales fell 34 percent, to $108 million.

“We’re trying to figure out the right strategy, but it can’t happen overnight,” said one executive, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk publicly. “E-books are still expanding, and we still have a piece of that market. We just have to find other ways to grow our digital business.”

Analysts said the resignation of Mr. Lynch could increase the likelihood of a formal split of the company. In April 2012, the Nook was spun off as a separate business from Barnes & Noble’s nearly 700 retail stores. Microsoft, which paid hundreds of millions of dollars for 17.6 percent of the Nook division, has expressed interest in buying the entire division, but it is unclear if a deal will be reached.

“The question is, can they truly take the Nook and sell it to someone who’s interested?” said Jack W. Perry, a publishing consultant. “I don’t know if the Nook name has the value to it. But with the customers Barnes & Noble has, there’s still value there.”

In February, Mr. Riggio indicated that he wanted to buy the retail stores and take them private, but he has not publicly acted on those plans since.

On Monday, the company said it was reviewing its strategic plan and would provide an update “when appropriate.”

Michael Norris, a senior analyst with Simba Information, said Barnes & Noble was “in a period of serious and meaningful transition.”

“I think that they need to really ask themselves what kind of business they want to be in,” Mr. Norris said. “And they need to figure out how they expect to make money from both the bookstore business and the e-reader business.”

John Tinker, an analyst for the Maxim Group, said the retail stores were still an attractive property, something that had been obscured by missteps from the digital division. Mr. Lynch, who came to Barnes & Noble with a background in technology and e-commerce rather than book-selling, spent most of his time focused on the digital side of the company. Mr. Riggio has expressed support of the Nook business to employees, but has always devoted his energies to old-fashioned retail book-selling.

“The huge losses and the huge noise on the Nook side are masking a very interesting business on the retail side,” Mr. Tinker said. “If there’s one thing that Riggio is good at, it’s running stores.”

nytimes.com

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