Ned’s parent company files for bankruptcy

Derek Remsburg/Staff

The parent company of Ned’s Berkeley Bookstore filed for bankruptcy last month to undergo a restructuring of debt, though company officials claim business will continue as usual.

Nebraska Book Company — which owns over 290 stores and sells textbooks to over 2,500 stores across the nation —  filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 27 in order to recapitalize about $450 million in outstanding loans and debt.

Last month’s filing was announced in a company statement that also said the company had more than $20 million in cash and over $200 million in other financing to help transition through the recapitalization process.

“This agreement solves balance sheet issues we have been addressing for months, and we are clearing a path toward continued growth,” said Nebraska Book Company president Barry Major in the statement.

According to company spokesperson Alexandra Griffin, company officials could not comment on further details of the bankruptcy.

The company began in 1915 as a single bookstore at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. According to the company’s website, the company began buying back books from students at the end of each term in order to meet the demand caused by an influx of former GI students at universities following World War II.

Today, the company sells over 6 million textbooks each year and serves over 2 million college and university students.

According to the statement, the company’s 2011 fiscal reports showed revenues of about $598 million, which Major described as “not the highest operating results that the Company has ever reported” but instead simply a “solid year” of business.

NBC Acquisitions Corp. — of which the Nebraska Book Company is a subsidiary — reported overall losses last year of about $98 million.

Elio Distaola, director of public and campus relations for the Follett Higher Education Group, which manages the Cal Student Store, said  that recently more students have turned to rental and digital course materials as opposed to traditional textbooks — a factor that could be affecting textbook businesses’ overall sales figures.

“It is important to note that the Internet continues to exponentially impact total competition,” he said. “But this is great for students and, frankly, keeps us extra sharp in the goods and services we provide.”

For Ned’s Bookstore — located on Bancroft Avenue near its intersection with Telegraph Avenue — the bankruptcy of its parent company has yet to create a negative impact on sales or administration, according to General Manager Donny Berecz.

“All the vendors and everything are still on board, and I don’t think there will be any changes,” Berecz said. “We’re still ordering as normal, and we’re actually carrying more books than we normally do.”

Berecz added that despite the company’s announcement, Ned’s plans to fill three more open positions in the coming weeks and expects little to no top-down change to its management.