Barnes & Noble Education has officially spun off from Barnes & Noble and is now looking into boosting its presence in the digital education services industry.
To achieve that growth, Barnes & Noble Education will focus on mergers, acquisitions and strategic partnerships with educational institutions and companies, while its college bookstores and online stores will help the company nurture its organic growth.
Barnes & Noble Education is an independent public company that has traded on the NYSE since Monday, August 3, when the company officially started and celebrated its IPO by ringing the Exchange’s opening bell. The separation between the retail and education divisions of the company will allow Barnes & Noble Education to focus on its digital textbook growth.
For Executive Chairman Michael Huseby, the new company is now ready to invest in its digital education platform Yuzu; a note-taking app that lets students rent digital textbooks and take notes on both on e-reader devices and online. Huseby says that boosting Yuzu is just the beginning:
“There are a lot of different media that can be brought into digital education once we work with the content producers to develop that content to populate our platform.”
Commenting on the company’s new focus on mergers and acquisitions, Max J. Roberts, Chief Executive Officer at Barnes & Noble Education, said:
“This is an exciting day in the history of Barnes & Noble College. We are an industry leader with 724 campus stores serving colleges and universities and more than 5 million students and their faculty across the country. As a separate public company, we believe we are well positioned to take advantage of future growth opportunities and enhance our services for our current and future customers.”
Roberts highlighted that the company’s mission is to make higher education more affordable by offering digital and print textbooks to learners at competitive prices.
Huseby said during a Bloomberg Television interview that the company prioritizes strong relationships with the institutions they collaborate with, something that puts Barnes & Noble ahead of its competitors:
“We’re different than some of the online companies like Amazon and Chegg in that we have a very close relationship and a deep relationship with the universities we serve.”
According to Roberts, being a publicly traded company will enable Barnes & Noble Education to further boost its expansion:
“We’re increasing comp sales, we have over $90 million of new business, 52% of schools still operate their own bookstores and we have the opportunity to do mergers and acquisitions.”
The company plans to get higher education students to use its digital platform as well. The goal is to “improve education and make it less costly,” something possible considering the strong presence of Barnes & Noble in colleges through its 724 campus stores.
In 2014, Barnes and Nobles opened 48 new stores. In 2015, 24 new stores have opened across the country.