Thursday, May 09, 2013

Microsoft mulls a $1B purchase of Nook Media digital assets

Barnes and Noble has struggled to make inroads on's market share with its Nook devices and content. Despite that, Microsoft seems to see the company's Nook Media division as worth buying: On Wednesday, it was reported that the Redmond, Wash.-based company had offered to pay $1 billion to buy the digital assets of Nook Media LLC.

Nook Media, to be clear, is the e-book joint venture between Microsoft and bookseller Barnes and Noble. Nook Media split from the retail arm of Barnes and Noble in October of last year with a $300 million investment by Microsoft, giving the software giant a 16.8 percent stake in the company.

The information came via internal documents obtained by TechCrunch. In the deal, Microsoft would purchase preferred units in the joint venture, acquiring the e-book and e-reader operations.

In addition, the documents said that Nook Media already had plans in place to discontinue its Nook tablets by the end of its fiscal year 2014. That might come as a surprise to many, as the HD and HD+ Android tablets finally achieved access to the Google Play store, just a short time ago.

The company plans to transition to a model where Nook content is distributed through apps on “third-party partner” devices. It is unclear if those devices will include tablets with Microsoft’s own Windows RT and Windows 8 devices, tablets made by others (including competing platforms such as Android and iOS) or both.

In late February, Barnes and Noble's reported its fiscal Q3 2013 results. The Nook unit hurt rather than helped things, with the company seeing an 8.8 percent decline in revenue compared with the same period a year earlier. In addition, the company's earnings (before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) slid 63 percent year-over-year.

Fiscal Q4 results will be released on June 18, with a conference call to follow the market close at 1 p.m. PT.

No comments: