Microsoft investment bolsters B&N digital, college units

NEW YORK and REDMOND, Wash. — Barnes & Noble has formed a partnership with Microsoft that will put Barnes & Noble's college and digital business under a new subsidiary, referred to for now as Newco. According to a press release, Microsoft will make a $300 million investment in Newco at a post-money valuation of $1.7 billion in exchange for an approximately 17.6% equity stake. Barnes & Noble will own approximately 82.4% of the new subsidiary, which will have an ongoing relationship with the company’s retail stores. Barnes & Noble has not yet decided on the name of Newco.

Among the benefits of the partnership are a new Nook application for Windows 8 and study software for students and educators, the companies said.

“The formation of Newco and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the Nook business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft’s investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business.”

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft have settled their patent litigation, and moving forward, Barnes & Noble and Newco will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its Nook eReader and Tablet products.

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