Shares in Barnes & Noble touched all-time lows in Tuesday’s trading with the company’s market cap below $800 million after dropping almost 6 percent–and the decline has continued in early trading today. On Thursday the retailer will report quarterly earnings. Their guidance forecast a loss of 10 cents to 15 cents a share, but analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect a loss of 16 cents per share, on sales of $1.17 billion. BAMM reports on Friday, and Borders releases results on Tuesday, November 25 after the market closes. At current prices, the market value of Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-a-Million and Hastings all together is less than $950 million.
In other financial news, two ever-leaking sources have provided new information on the ever-falling price for Reed Business Information: final bids are said to have fallen to $1 billion, “half of original projections,” (and a huge drop since two people leaked last month) Bloomberg reports. “Chief Executive Officer Crispin Davis will either cancel the sale of Reed Business Information or choose a bidder for final talks in coming weeks, said the people,”
But Reed is seen as needing to sell in order to avoid a credit-rating downgrade give their high debt level following the purchase of ChoicePoint. “Bain Capital and TPG/DLJ would revamp the unit and cut costs, two of the people said. Should the business be sold to a buyout fund, more than $100 million in cost cuts are lined up for the business, including job reductions, one of the people said.”
Pearson cfo Robin Freestone told an investor’s conference, “We’re not expecting a great year for the US schools business in 2009,” he said. “We are conservatively estimating about $1 billion (in revenue).” Curriculum changes in the South are expected to boost textbook sales in 2010.
Freestone reiterated that ebook sales are climbing quickly, even if the absolute number remains tiny: “We expect downloads of our ebooks to grow fourfold this year, albeit from a very low base.”
News Corp. is delaying the development of a new “campus” in east London’s Wapping area, where they had planned to relocate Harper UK and many other company units. Dow Jones says “despite the delay, the new building will continue to be designed and the decommissioning of the old presses and planning permission applications will continue.”