In November, Barnesandnoble.com had said that it expected the music shop to be and running by the end of March. But its on-again, off-again initial public offering has distracted management.
"Obviously that slipped," said Ben Boyd, the company's director of corporate communications, who said vaguely that the music store will open "in the summer." He noted that about 150 music titles are offered today in the "gifts" section of the site.
Dealings with Wall Street and German partner Bertelsmann, the giant publisher with multiple online ventures, have drawn management attention since the November announcement, Boyd said.
"That was shortly after the joint venture with Bertelsmann started, then we went from joint venture back into IPO mode. Also since then, we became a public company--that's a large undertaking in terms of focus and resources," he said.
"It was important for us to get to market [with the IPO]--that $486 million was a pretty good change," Boyd said.
Barnesandnoble.com, which has started calling itself the easier-to-type "BN.com," said today that its IPO became the largest ever for an Internet company when the underwriters of the public offering, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, exercised their option to sell more shares.
After the IPO, however, Barnesandnoble.com remains significantly intertwined with its parents, Barnes & Noble and Bertelsmann. Each owns 40 percent of Barnesandnoble.com, with the remaining 20 percent owned by public shareholders as a result of the IPO.
The bricks-and-mortar chain, Barnes & Noble, said today it had pocketed $25 million from Bertelsmann because the IPO went out at a higher price than originally anticipated.
Barnes & Noble also is selling 1 million shares in Chapters, Canada's largest bookseller. That deal, slated for mid-June, would raise about $21 million for the U.S. company.