Barnes & Noble being investigated by SEC; stock falls

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The Securities and Exchange Commission has commenced an investigation into Barnes & Noble's accounting, pushing shares of the bookstore chain sharply lower.

On Thursday afternoon, Barnes & Noble disclosed in an SEC filing that the SEC is investigating the company's restatement of earnings announced in July. The SEC is also looking into 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."

Barnes & Noble said it is cooperating with the SEC, according to the filing.

The company said it cannot comment on the SEC investigation. The SEC also declined comment.

Shares of the bookstore chain tumbled nearly 5 percent.

—By CNBC's JeeYeon Park (Follow JeeYeon on Twitter: @JeeYeonParkCNBC).