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Report: Microsoft could buy Barnes & Noble’s Nook division

by Doug Drinkwater

May 9 2013

Microsoft is reportedly looking to acquire Nook Media LLC, the division behind Barnes & Noble’s eBook business, eReaders and tablets.

Barnes & Noble first talked of spinning off the Nook division in January of last year and subsequently saw the unit receive investment from Microsoft ($300 million for a 16.8% stake) and education publisher Pearson ($89.5 million for a 5% stake).

At the time of Microsoft’s original investment, the deal included an additional $180 million advance for Nook to develop eBooks and other content for Windows 8, and there was even talk that Windows 8-powered Nook tablets and eReaders would come to the market.

Such speculation may now return in light of a new report which suggests that Microsoft is looking to buy the digital assets of Nook Media.

TechCrunch claims to have received internal company documents which reveal that Microsoft is offering to pay $1 billion for the digital assets of the Nook division, which has previously been valued around $1.66 billion.

The report also states that the acquisition would see Nook move away from Android for future tablets and would stop using Google’s open operating system altogether by the end of the 2014 financial year.

The buy-out could be advantageous for both parties. Microsoft is widely-reported to be working on a number of smaller tablets, an area of expertise for Nook, while the Barnes & Noble division could do with some new investment after a couple of difficult quarters.  Back in February, Barnes & Noble revealed that Nook revenue for the 2012 holiday season dropped by 26%.

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