Partnerships / Acquisitions

Barnes & Noble Acquires Major Textbook Wholesaler, MBS Textbook Exchange, for $174.2 Million

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This week, Barnes & Noble Education made its announcement that it will be acquiring MBS Textbook Exchange, LLC (MBS) for $174.2 million.

At present, MBS is responsible for the highest number of higher education virtual bookstores and is one of the top used textbook wholesalers. It has 700+ virtual bookstores with compatible online resources and textbooks in 3,700 college bookstores which includes Barnes & Noble Education’s 770 campus stores. In addition to this, MBS also manages inventory, hardware and point-of-sale software to around 458 university bookstores.

With this deal, these companies will collectively be the largest university book provider in the country with nearly 1500 physical and virtual bookstores reaching 6 million college students.

Barnes & Noble Education’s CEO, Max J. Roberts, commented in the company’s press release on this acquisition and what it means for the textbook market. He said “We have worked closely with MBS for over 30 years, and we are thrilled to bring our two complementary companies together. This combination will allow us to generate more value from the textbook marketplace through expected inventory and procurement synergies, which will enhance our ability to drive successful student outcomes by providing complete, affordable solutions that empower students and faculty. In addition, we will increase our addressable market to include the growing virtual bookstore market, and will now be able to offer our campus partners physical, virtual and hybrid bookstore models. Our ability to leverage our expanded customer reach and distribution channels gives us the opportunity to immediately accelerate our strategy and provide scale benefits, an enhanced competitive advantage in the rapidly changing higher education industry.”

In this transaction, Barnes & Noble Education and MBS seek to do the following:

  • Enhance the ability to customize physical, virtual and hybrid models to meet customer needs
  • Enable Barnes & Noble Education to generate more value from the textbook marketplace
  • Expand customer base for digital courseware and analytics
  • Deliver significant financial benefits

MBS’ CEO, Bob Pugh, shares the company’s goals in this acquisition in the joint release: “We are excited to join a company that shares our commitment to serving the education marketplace and driving student success. We are confident that joining forces with Barnes & Noble Education will enable us to serve the needs of our customers and partners even more effectively and better meet the demands of the changing education landscape. We look forward to being a member of the Barnes & Noble Education family,” he said.

With the offerings MBS provides and its access to textbook stores around the country, this is a strategic move on Barnes & Noble Education’s part to become the power player in the textbook publishing niche.



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