Shares of Varsity Group Inc., the online bookseller that rose to prominence during the e-commerce boom only to stumble badly, will return to trading on the Nasdaq National Market this morning.
Varsity Group went public in February 2000 at $10 a share, but within a month the stock had lost more than half its value as investors grew wary of companies dependent on online sales. The District-based company slashed much of its staff while searching for a profitable business model.
Founded in 1997 as VarsityBooks.com, the company's original mission was to sell textbooks to college students over the Web. But as its stock sank -- eventually trading as low as 6 cents a share -- Varsity changed its name and laid off all but 30 of its 200 employees. It was delisted by Nasdaq and has traded on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board since March 2001.
The company regrouped and took on a new, narrower mission. Today the company serves as a book supplier for private high schools that direct students to its site for their required books each year.
Last year Varsity had 210 schools on its customer list and recorded $25.2 million in revenue and a $4.4 million profit. It now has 315 client schools and expects 2004 to be its third consecutive year of profitable results, said Eric J. Kuhn, chief executive.
The stock, which will trade under the symbol VSTY, closed at $6.17 on the OTC Bulletin Board yesterday.