Barnes and Noble announced at a recent earnings call that they have ended their partnership with Microsoft. The nations largest bookseller will pay Microsoft $120 million in cash and stock.
In 2012 Microsoft invested $300 million for a 17.6% stake in Barnes and Noble, to aid the ailing Nook division. The initial plan was to assist the bookseller in spinning off the Nook from the bookstore chain into two separate entities. Microsoft also wanted to integrate the Nook reading app into all Windows 8 devices and provide a valid eBook experience on Windows phones.
Barnes & Noble said Thursday that its split with Microsoft would provide “a clearer path” to split the two businesses, which it said could take place by the end of August 2015.
During a conference call with investors, Michael P. Huseby, Barnes & Noble’s chief executive, said that ending the company’s partnership with Microsoft would help clear the way for the split, and possibly invite new Nook partners. “This transaction gives us the flexibility to bring in a substantial partner in Nook,” he said. Who exactly that partner is, or what they could bring to the table, remains to be seen.
Barnes and Noble is trying to re-energize the company by axing most of the executive team that has been been with Nook from the very beginning. They are also trying to solve the consistent string of financial loses by closing under performing stores and have turned to Samsung to design and manufacture the Nook hardware, instead of doing it internally.
Traditionally Barnes and Noble has not been doing that well during the nine week holiday season and has been offering a smorgasbord of promotions. To draw in book lovers and shoppers for Black Friday, Barnes & Noble stocked up on 500,000 signed copies from 100 prominent authors. The bookseller has also launched a Nook Trade in program that will give a $30 credit on a new Samsung 4 Nook tablet in exchange for the Nook 1st generation, Nook Color or Nook Tablet. Finally they have launched a specific Christmas Store in the US and UK to provide reading recommendations and holiday gift ideas.