It appears that Barnes and Noble Inc and Microsoft Corp have announced a joint venture to create a new subsidiary that will house the digital and college businesses of the bookseller and include a Nook application for Windows 8.
The companies said Monday that they are exploring separating those businesses entirely.
That could mean a stock offering, sale, or other deal could happen.
The deal gives the bookseller more ammunition to fend off shareholders who have agitated for a sale of the Nook business or the whole company.
For the Windows software marker, it represents a move into the e-book business, which has been targeted by Amazon.com, Apple Inc and Google Inc, and it will make a $300 million investment in the subsidiary for a 17.6 percent stake.
“Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re on the cusp of a revolution in reading,” Andy Lees, president at Microsoft, said in a statement.
The companies said that the subsidiary will have an ongoing relationship with Barnes & Noble’s retail stores, but what that relationship will be is unclear.
The Nook app will make Barnes and Noble’s catalog of e-books, magazines and newspapers available to Microsoft customers in the U.S. and abroad.