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Last modified: Friday, May 4, 2007

Barnes & Noble to run IU bookstores

May 4, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana University President Adam W. Herbert announced today (May 4) that he has accepted a staff recommendation to have Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, Inc. take over management of bookstores on all IU campuses beginning July 1.

The recommendation came from J. Terry Clapacs, Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer, who headed a task force that reviewed and analyzed proposals from several potential bookstore operators.

Herbert's announcement came in a report to the IU Board of Trustees during its regular business meeting. IU currently operates 16 bookstores at various locations on seven campuses.

"This decision is the result of a very thorough analysis of proposals from several companies, including Barnes & Noble and bookstore operations under university management," Herbert said. "Although the management and staff of our bookstores are doing a good job, Barnes & Noble will offer a more comprehensive array of services to our students as well as greater opportunities for improved financial performance."

As part of the Barnes & Noble proposal, it will offer jobs to all 93 current full-time employees of IU bookstores at the same total level of compensation and benefits that they are currently receiving. The benefit package for transferring bookstore employees will also include continued tuition reimbursement on par with other IU employees.

Clapacs said he is particularly pleased that Barnes & Noble worked with IU to address the university's concerns about the transition of bookstore employees.

"From the very start of the review process, we looked for ways to ensure that benefits and salaries of our full-time employees would be maintained," Clapacs said. "They have served IU well, and now they will have the potential for industry specific career development opportunities with Barnes & Noble."

Barnes & Noble College Booksellers is a privately held sister company to Barnes & Noble, Inc. It operates more than 600 campus bookstores at locations including the University of Chicago, Ohio State University, Northwestern University, Penn State University, Texas A & M University, Yale University and Harvard University.

The proposals were reviewed by a task force that included various university administrators and the external CPA/consulting firm of Crowe Chizek of Indianapolis.

A financial analysis compiled by the task force showed that Barnes & Noble operations would generate about $70 million in revenue for IU over a 10-year period. Additionally, Barnes & Noble has offered to pay IU a $5.5 million signing bonus and provide an additional $10.5 million in extra benefits to IU during the life of the contract.

As part of the agreement, Barnes & Noble would make an investment in construction of a facility in the south parking lot of Assembly Hall that would include a varsity shop and coffee shop and serve as a bus station for students who use the parking lot during the week.

Clapacs said that beginning last November, his task force sought proposals from five vendors who operate college bookstores. The proposals were evaluated upon multiple criteria, including ability to serve customers, expected financial performance and how existing employees would be utilized.

In February, two finalists were selected -- Barnes & Noble and the existing IU bookstore operation -- and they were asked to submit "best and final" offers. After a detailed analysis comparing the two offers, Clapacs accepted the recommendation of the task force to recommend that President Herbert choose Barnes & Noble.