Barnes & Noble shares are up more than 70% in pre-market trading following the announcement. The computer software giant will own 17.6% of the Nook subsidiary, valuing it at $1.7B, and provide a Nook application in its new Windows 8 operating system, the companies said this morning. Barnes & Noble will own the remaining 82.4% of the venture. The agreement also settles the patent infringement complaint that Barnes & Noble raised against Microsoft last year. The bookseller and its Nook subsidiary “will have a royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products,” the companies said. Barnes & Noble is throwing its College books business into the subsidiary. Its Nook Study software “will provide students and educators the preeminent technology platform for the distribution and management of digital education materials in the market.” Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch says that Microsoft’s investment will help “bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, (and) will allow us to significantly expand the business.” Barnes & Noble said in January that it was considering a spin off of its Nook business. The book chain says in an SEC filing that Microsoft will pay the Nook subsidiary $60M a year in the first three years after it launches Windows 8, as well as $25M a year for five years to help the enterprise acquire digital reading content and develop technology.
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