May 13, 2013– Microsoft is planning to offer $1 billion to buy Barnes and Noble’s e-reader unit, according to several news reports. Microsoft already owns 17.6% of Nook Media and Penguin owns a 5% stake. If the acquisition is successful, Microsoft would completely take over the device and content business. But then it plans to shut down the device business and focus on distributing Nook content via apps on third-party devices. The deal would give Microsoft g preferred stock in Nook Media, which includes a college book business, according to the website TechCrunch. The acquisition could help Microsoft compete with Amazonand Apple to develop a reading ecosystem for its devices, as PaidContent points out.
TechCrunch also said that Nook Media intends to discontinue its Android-based tablet business by the end of its 2014 fiscal year to begin using applications on unnamed "third-party" devices.
Barnes & Noble executives have not commented on the move, which pushed stock prices last week from $4.31, to $22.08.
In April 2012, Microsoft made a $300 million investment in th new Nook Media subsidiary for about 17% ownership. The publisher Pearson PLC invested $89.5 million in the unit in December.