Barnes & Noble Education announced yesterday that its board has approved the hiring of a financial advisor to help the college store company review its strategic options.
The announcement came as B&NE released its second quarter results for the period ended October 26, 2019. Sales in the quarter fell 5.2% compared to the second quarter of fiscal 2019, declining to $772.2 million. Net income tumbled 40% compared to last year’s second quarter, to $35.9 million
Company CEO Michael Huseby said that B&NE decided to engage a financial consultant to help it find ways to accelerate a number of digital initiatives the company has put in place to keep pace with the rapid changes in the college course materials market. The strategic review, Huseby said, will look at all paths that can enhance shareholder value.
Asked in a conference call discussing second quarter results what had changed in recent months to prompt the hiring of a financial advisor, Huseby said the “main thing” was the growing number of inquiries the company has received about discussing potential strategic opportunities. Huseby speculated that outside parties are interested in talking to B&NE because they recognize the value of the assets the company has developed is not reflected by stock prices. Following the release of its second quarter financials and the announcement to hire an advisor, the company’s share price fell to $3.80 at the close of business on December 4, down from $4.80 per share on December 3.
Huseby said the priority for B&NE is to rapidly scale its profitable digital properties, something that could be helped by arranging some kind of deal with an outside party. Officially, the company said it was looking for an advisor to “assist in a review of strategic opportunities to accelerate the execution of customer-focused strategic initiatives and enhance value for BNED shareholders, including, but not limited to, continued execution of the company’s current business plan, new partnerships, joint ventures. and other potential opportunities.”