Microsoft wishes to purchase the digital assets of joint venture Nook Media LLC for $1 billion.
According to documents obtained by TechCrunch, $1 billion is on the table which would allow the Redmond giant to buy preferred assets owned by the e-book joint venture between the firm and Barnes & Noble. Under the terms of the deal, Microsoft would take over the digital side of the business, including a college book section, Nook e-readers and tablets.
However, according to the documents, the Android tablet side of the business is soon to be dead in the water. By 2014, Nook Media will be discontinuing Nook tablets, and instead the joint venture will be shifting towards a business model that distributes Nook content through "third-party partner" devices. It is not clear what these devices will be -- whether third-party devices are tablets produced by Microsoft, rival firms or both -- but they are due to be introduced in 2014.
Nook e-readers will not immediately be discontinued. Instead, following the all-purpose device trend, the product line is expected to succumb to a natural, gradual death.
Barnes & Noble admitted earlier this year that profit generated from the 2012 holiday season was down 26 percent from the previous year, although denied exiting the hardware business at the time. In addition, although hardware sales were disappointing, content sales grew by seven percent. According to TechCrunch, the bookseller values itself at $1.66 billion -- and even though Microsoft's reported offer of $1 billion for the joint venture is high, compared to its value at the beginning ($1.7 billion), the dip is obvious.
Microsoft secured a 16.8 percent stake in Nook Media for a $300 million investment last year. If the Redmond giant takes over the content ecosystem, then potentially the company would secure a stronger position in the fight against content providers Amazon and Apple.
To date, over 10 million Nook e-readers and tablets have been sold. The Nook reader app is available on every major OS platform.