Did B&N Cook the Nook’s Books?
There’s a juicy story going around today about a brief mention in Barnes & Noble’s latest SEC filing. No one really knows what it means (or if it has any importance at all) but that’s not stopping everyone from writing about it.
According to Forbes, the SEC is investigating an allegation as well as the company’s recent financial disclosures:
In Barnes & Noble’s quarterly report filed Thursday, the company noted that the SEC “notified the Company that it had commenced an investigation into: (1) the Company’s restatement of earnings announced on July 29, 2013, and (2) a separate matter related to a former non-executive employee’s allegation that the Company improperly allocated certain Information Technology expenses between its NOOK and Retail segments for purposes of segment reporting.” The company announced that it is cooperating with the SEC on this matter.
Barnes, & Noble, of course, had nothing to say. "We are cooperating with the SEC, including responding to questions and requests for documents," company spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said in an email. "We cannot comment on why the SEC is investigating the restatement," she added.
B&N has experienced a severe setback in their digital ambitions over the past year, with revenues of the perennially unprofitable Nook Media division continuing to drop over that time. This probably led to B&N having to write off expenses in ways that may or may not have been quite kosher.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to wait until there’s a report before drawing any conclusions. For all we know this investigation could result in a conclusion about as interesting as a spreadsheet on the retail price of tea in southern Ohio in 1964.