Barnes & Noble had no comment on a report in TechCrunch that Microsoft is offering to pay $1 billion for Nook Media, the B&N unit that houses its digital assets as well as the college stores. Microsoft and Pearson both hold stakes in the company. The TechCrunch report also said that, according to documents it has, that Nook Media will discontinue its Android-based tablet business by the end of its 2014 fiscal year which closes next April. As part of the plan, Nook’s content would be distributed through apps on “third-party partner” devices.
Reports that Microsoft may buy Nook Media are not a surprise; speculation that the company may make a play for Nook Media began surfacing almost immediately after Microsoft made its investment in Nook. The B&N board has been studying ways B&N can best leverage Nook Media, and a sale or public offering were always top possibilities. The B&N board is also reviewing the offer by chairman Len Riggio to buy the company’s retail trade stores, the B&N assets that are not part of Nook Media.