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Barnesandnoble.com files for IPO

Barnesandnoble.com, a subsidiary of giant book retailer Barnes & Noble, files with the SEC for an initial public offering.

Barnesandnoble.com, a subsidiary of giant book retailer Barnes & Noble, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering.

Barnes & Noble is spinning off its online division and will offer Class A Common Stock. When publicly traded, the stock will be listed on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol "BOOK."

Barnes & Noble is expected to own approximately 80 percent of the outstanding common stock, making up approximately 98 percent by vote of the outstanding common stock.

The underwriters are Goldman Sachs and Salomon Smith Barney.

Barnesandnoble.com disclosed that outstanding indebtedness owed to Barnes & Noble at the time of the offering will be converted to equity. Net proceeds from the offering will be used exclusively to fund Barnesandnoble.com's ongoing operations including working capital, capital expenditures, and strategic acquisitions and investments.

While Barnesandnoble.com is backed by retailing giant Barnes & Noble, it faces stiff competition from online book retailing giant Amazon.com, which analysts note is already backed by big-time investors.

"Spinning off its online unit is clearly a reaction to Amazon's far-flung stock valuation," said Mark Mooradian, an analyst at Jupiter Communications. "It's a case of 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.'"

Mooradian added that creating the online unit as part of its traditional business did not help propel Barnes & Noble's stock valuation.

"I don't think this IPO will change things dramatically," said Mooradian. "It's an effort to capitalize on Internet stocks--Wall Street's quick darling."

Barnesandnoble.com is the exclusive bookseller to America Online's approximately 13 million subscribers and has strategic partnerships with several top Net sites, including portal Lycos. Its parent company operates 500 Barnes & Noble bookstores and 508 B. Dalton bookstores.