Earlier today we broke the news that Barnes and Noble was thinking of getting out of the hardware business and was going to start licensing out its apps and ebooks to Samsung and Microsoft. Today, the founder of Barnes and Noble and the companies largest shareholder, Leonard Riggio, filed SEC paperwork to buy all 689 retail stores and BN.com.
Barnes and Noble was not going to let something like this fly under the radar and issued a press release today confirming the SEC filing. All of this information comes a few days before B&N is poised to announce its third quarter financial reports, which are reported to be underwhelming.
A company restructuring program will likely be accelerated with 20 bookstores closing this year and no new ones opening. Last year the company hoped to expand into 11 new markets, but since the expansion into the UK, no new online bookstores have opened. Sources close to the situation are saying that B&N will not abandon the e-reader business altogether, but will start licensing out its apps and content to companies like Microsoft and Samsung.
So just who is Leo Riggio? Well, he originally started a college bookstore chain in the 1970’s. He then bought the Barnes and Noble name and their flagship bookstore in Manhattan. Over the years he built the largest bookstore chain in the US and also the company’s digital division.
Want to learn more about the history of Barnes and Noble’s Nook division? A few months ago we wrote the most definitive guide, check it out.