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TheStreet Open House

Barnes & Noble Tumbles as Partners Take NOOK Tablet

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- What was supposed to be Barnes & Noble's (BKS) saving grace has turned into a tale of woe, and the final chapter is now written.

Barnes & Noble shares were tumbling on today's weak earnings report, falling 14% to $16.21.

As part of the book retailer's abysmal fourth-quarter earnings, Barnes & Noble announced that it would be sourcing its NOOK hardware to a third-party to limit the losses associated with developing and building the tablet.

For the quarter, Barnes & Noble lost $2.11 a share on $1.28 billion, a 7% year-over-year decline. Analysts were looking for a loss of 97 cents a share on revenue of $1.33 billion.

The NOOK segment had revenue of $108 million for the quarter, down 34% year-over-year. Device sales continue to be poor, as the tablet game is dominated by the likes of Apple's (AAPL) iPad and devices running Google's (GOOG) Android operating system. NOOK EBITDA losses were $177 million for the fourth quarter, which includes $133 million in inventory write-downs.

What was supposed to be a home run deal for Barnes & Noble, as well as Microsoft (MSFT), when the NOOK partnership was announced last year, now appears to be nothing more than a weak ground ball to second base.

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