Barnes and Noble Buys Back Pearson's Stake in Nook Media

Posted on December 29, 2014

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook

Barnes & Noble has taken the last step towards regaining full ownership of its Nook ebook business. The book retailer announced today that it has agreed to buy Pearson's share of Nook Media for approximately $28 million.

Barnes & Noble will pay Pearson in stock and cash. Pearson will receive $13.75 million in cash and 602,927 shares of Barnes & Noble common stock The agreement comes on the heels of the end of Barnes & Noble's deal with Microsoft. The book retailer paid Microsoft $120 million for its stake in Nook Media.

Microsoft invested $300 million in the Nook in April 2012. It took a 17.6% stake and pledged to invest another $305 million. The deal was supposed to turbo charge sales of the Nook to take on Amazon.com and its Kindle. That never happened as Microsoft focused on its Surface tablet. Nook sales continued to falter and Microsoft apparently saw no need to throw more money at the project.

With the completion of both deals, Barnes & Noble will be free to split into two companies. By August, 2015, the plan is to have one company consist of the retail stores and bn.com. The other company will consist of college bookstores and the Nook.

The Nook was originally introduced in late 2009 as a competitor to Amazon.com's Kindle ebook reader. Last year Barnes & Noble partnered with Samsung for co-developed Galaxy Tab Nook devices. That deal is still in place. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is sold in 7-inch and 10-inch versions.

Photo: Barnes & Noble