In another move that consolidates the college retail and wholesale market, Barnes & Noble Education has acquired MBS Textbook Exchange for $174.2 million in cash.
MBS was privately held and majority owned by affiliates of Len Riggio (founder of Barnes & Noble Inc.), which had owned B&N Education. The company services more than 700 virtual bookstores with an e-commerce experience and a suite of new, used and digital course materials. It also sells new and used textbooks to over 3,700 physical college bookstores, including B&N Education’s 770 campus bookstores. Additionally, MBS provides inventory management, hardware and point-of-sale software to approximately 485 college bookstores, and operates textbooks.com, an e-commerce site for new and used textbooks.
In the fiscal year ended August 31, 2016, MBS had revenue of $499.8 million and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $54.7 million.
B&N Education CEO Max Roberts noted that the two companies have worked together for more than 30 years, adding that “we are thrilled to bring our two complementary companies together.”
Among the benefits that Roberts sees from the purchase are inventory and procurement synergies that will allow B&N Education to offer students a variety of ways to buy a range of different course materials. In addition, the acquisitions expand B&N Education’s customer base for its courseware and analytical products. The purchase will also give a bump to B&N Education sales.
Accompanying news of the MBS purchase, B&N Education released its third quarter financial results for the period ended January 31, 2017. Revenue was up 0.6% over the prior third quarter due entirely to sales from new stores. Comparable store sales dropped 4.9%. Despite the sales decline, the company had net income of $3.8 million in the quarter, compared to a loss of $3.6 million in the third period of fiscal 2016
Roberts attributed the decline in comp store sales to lower college enrollments, a “competitive market” for textbook sales and a soft retail environment.