Barnes & Noble shares jump 24% on reports of Nook bid

Shares in the bookstore chain Barnes and Noble have shot up after reports Microsoft was planning to buy its Nook e-reader division.

The technology website, TechCrunch, said that Microsoft was planning to buy all Nook Media's assets for $1bn (£650m).

Microsoft already owns 17% of Nook Media, with around three quarters owned by Barnes and Noble and 5% by Pearson.

Both Microsoft and Barnes and Noble have not yet commented.

Microsoft's investment in Nook Media more than a year ago gave it an implied value of $1.7bn.

By the time of Pearson's investment in December the company was valued at $1.8bn.

The Nook competes against Amazon's Kindle e-reader, as well as Apple and Google in the e-book market.

Figures for Nook sales show they dropped sharply, after it sold fewer of the digital readers and tablets and cut prices.

This week, Barnes and Noble cut prices for US Mother's Day by one third in a special promotion.

Market research by IDC suggests that Barnes and Noble is not among the top five e-book sellers and has less 2% of the global market.

Nook Media's assets also include a college bookstore chain, which the main Barnes and Noble business may take back if any deal is signed.

As for the original bookstore chain, its chairman, Leonard Riggio earlier this year said he wanted to buy its 700-strong chain himself, but not the e-book reader.

He owns almost 30% of the company.

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