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Microsoft could splash $1 billion on Nook Media assets

Microsoft looks set to up the stakes in its venture with book retailer Barnes & Noble, potentially shelling out $1 billion to acquire assets from the two firms’ joint division, Nook Media LLC.

The deal would see the tech giant obtain its preferred units in Nook Media, expected to involve ebooks and Nook hardware. Details have been disclosed by Tech Crunch which attained internal documents relating to the buyout proposal.

Microsoft has already laid the groundwork in its bid to ramp up its e-reading content, having invested $300 million in the Nook Media project back in October and gaining a 17.6 per cent equity stake in Barnes & Noble in the process.

The investment came as Microsoft prepared to launch its all-new Windows 8 platform, with corporate vice president Andy Lees stating at the time, "Nook Media is a leader in developing the next generation of digital reading and we look forward to the company bringing one of the world's largest digital libraries to Windows 8 devices via their upcoming Windows 8 app."

The acquisition documents also reveal that Nook Media is likely to discontinue its Android-based tablet business by the end of its 2014 fiscal year, instead adopting a strategy where Nook content is delivered through apps on “third-party partner” devices.

As for Microsoft, the position of its maligned CEO Steve Ballmer continues to be called into question, with John C. Dvorak debating this morning whether Ballmer should stay or go.