AFP – Shares in Barnes & Noble surged Thursday after a report that Microsoft was preparing a $1 billion bid for the bookseller’s Nook Media digital assets.
B&N shares jumped 26.9 percent to $22.55 in pre-market electronic trades, after the report by the technology news blog TechCrunch.
Last year, Microsoft invested $300 million in the Nook division — which makes the Nook tablet and e-reader — which was split off from money-losing parent company.
Barnes & Noble declined comment on the report. Microsoft had no immediate comment.
Around 10 million Nook tablets and readers have been sold, and the unit has some seven million subscribers who buy e-books and other content from Barnes & Noble, according to TechCrunch.
The website, citing internal documents, said the Android-based Nook tablet would be discontinued by 2014, at which time Nook content would be distributed through makers of other devices through an app.
It was unclear if the third-party maker would be Microsoft, which introduced its own Surface tablet last year using the Windows operating system.
The report said Microsoft was preparing to pay $1 billion to buy the digital assets of Nook Media LLC, the digital book and college book joint venture with Barnes & Noble and other investors.