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Barnes & Noble Books IPO for Online Store

Barnes & Noble, Inc. said today it plans to offer an initial public offering of stock in its online bookselling unit barnesandnoble.com.

The company said it will file an initial public offering statement with the SEC within the next thirty days.

The planned IPO will enable the bookseller to cash up for its head-to-head battle with rival Amazaon.com whose valuations have been said to equal more than that of Barnes & Noble as a whole. barnesandnoble.com has been playing catch-up with Amazon since its late arrival into the online book sales arena.

In the company's 1998 second quarter financial report released today, Barnes & Noble reported that its Internet site had a net loss of $13.6 million or $0.20 per share for the quarter.

Revenues for barnesandnoble.com in the quarter equaled $12.5 million compared to revenues of $2.2 million for the second quarter of 1997, an increase of 470%, and a 33% increase from $9.4 million for the first quarter of 1998.

As of August 1, 1998 barnesandnoble.com said it had over 720,000 customers in 175 countries, a 44% gain over 500,000 customers in 158 countries in May, 1998. Repeat customer revenues accounted for roughly 50% of second quarter revenues.

In addition, the site's affiliate network program has grown to more than 17,000 sites, according to Barnes & Noble. Strategic partnerships include those with top-twenty Web sites such as Microsoft, Lycos, Tripod and ZDNet, and an exclusive partnership with America Online.

Wall Street reacted favorably to the IPO news today--Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) was up +3 1/8 to 40 3/8 in mid-morning trading.