Barnes & Noble buys MBS Textbook Exchange

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COLUMBIA - Barnes & Noble Education, Inc. (BNED) has purchased the Columbia bookseller MBS Textbook Exchange, Inc. for $174.2 million, according to a Tuesday press release from BNED. The two companies will run more than 1,490 physical and online bookstores and serve over 6 million college students.

BNED is one of America's largest bookstore operators for college and university campuses. MBS is the largest virtual bookstore operator and one of the largest used textbook providers in the country. Before BNED bought MBS, affiliates of former Barnes & Noble executive chairman Leonard Riggio owned the majority of MBS.

BNED CEO Max Roberts said in the press release that the two companies have worked together for over 30 years. Uniting them will enhance their abilities to keep inventory and acquire more books, so they will be more able to serve students' academic and financial needs, Roberts said.

The merger also allows BNED to expand its market to virtual bookselling, which will broaden its customer base. This creates the possibility of providing "physical, virtual and hybrid bookstore models" for the campuses it serves, Roberts said.

MBS CEO Bob Pugh echoed Roberts' enthusiasm about the merger.

"We are excited to join a company that shares our commitment to serving the education marketplace and driving student success," Pugh said.