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After splitting off its Nook division last fall, Barnes & Noble appears to be entertaining getting out of the digital business altogether in a possible sale to partner Microsoft valued at as much as $1 billion.
TechCrunch is reporting that Microsoft has offered Nook Media LLC as much as $1 billion to purchase the digital e-book assets owned by Barnes & Noble and other investors, which not-so coincidentally includes the Redmond giant.
Should the deal come to fruition, Microsoft would then own the entire digital operation, which could mean the demise of the Android-based tablets by the end of 2014, instead focusing on distribution of its content through "third-party partner" devices and apps.
Back in February, rumors began to grow that the Nook hardware could be discontinued following a holiday quarter that barely made a dent in the company's market share. The report notes than more than 10 million Nook tablets have been sold to date, and more than seven million of those are in active use.
News of a rumored purchase comes from internal documents obtained by TechCrunch, although there's no word on when the deal could actually be announced, assuming it actually closes in the first place.
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter