Barnes & Noble to separate retail, Nook

Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) confirmed today that it is taking steps to separate its retail and Nook media businesses into two companies.

"We believe we are now in a better position to begin in earnest those steps necessary to accomplish a separation of Nook Media and Barnes & Noble retail," CEO Michael Huseby, said in a statement. "We have determined that these businesses will have the best chance of optimizing shareholder value if they are capitalized and operated separately."

The board said late last year it was considering such a move, but has now approved the separation plans.

Once considered Barnes & Noble's savior, Nook has struggled to be profitable. Whether the retail business can stand on its own without an e-book division to compete with Amazon is uncertain.

"We fully expect that our Retail and Nook Media businesses will continue to have long-term, successful business relationships with each other after separation," said Huseby.

Barnes & Noble announced the split upon the release of its fourth quarter and full year sales results. Sales for the retail segment fell 6 percent for the fiscal year ended May 3 and comparable store sales declined 5.8 percent. Core comparable sales — sales excluding Nook — dropped 3.1 percent for the full year.

The Nook segment — including digital content, devices and accessories — had revenues of $506 million for the year, a 22.3 percent decline from the prior year.

For more:
-See this Barnes & Noble press release
-See this ABC News story

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