Barnes & Nobles (BKS) announced on Friday that Pearson (PSO) will invest $89.5 million in cash in its NOOK Media business, giving the company a 5% equity stake. Earlier this year, Microsoft (MSFT) dropped $300 million for a 17.6% stake in NOOK Media. Pearson’s investment now leaves Barnes & Noble with 78.2% of the company while Microsoft holds a 16.8% stake.
“Pearson is a forward thinking company similarly focused on reading and learning, with powerful assets and a terrific management team” Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said in a press release. Pearson CEO Will Ethridge had a little more to share on the new partnership saying the two companies will “work closely together in order to create a more seamless and effective experience for students.”
Barnes & Noble’s press release follows below.
NOOK Media Announces Strategic Investment by Pearson
New York, NY and London (Dec. 28, 2012) – NOOK Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced that Pearson (NYSE: PSO), the world’s leading learning company, has agreed to make a strategic investment in NOOK Media, LLC. Pearson has agreed to invest $89.5 million in cash in NOOK Media, LLC at a post-money valuation of approximately $1.789 billion in exchange for preferred membership interests representing 5% equity stake. Following the closing of the transaction, Barnes & Noble will now own approximately 78.2% of the NOOK Media subsidiary and Microsoft, which also holds preferred membership interests, will own approximately 16.8%. Subject to certain conditions, Pearson will earn the option to purchase up to an additional five percent ownership in NOOK Media.
Pearson’s strategic investment in NOOK Media will accelerate customer access to digital content by pairing its leading expertise in online learning with NOOK Media’s expertise in online distribution and customer service. This will facilitate improved discovery of available digital content and services, as well as seamless access.
“We formed NOOK Media to be a leader in the exploding market for digital content,” said William Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, Inc. “Pearson is a forward thinking company similarly focused on reading and learning, with powerful assets and a terrific management team. We welcome their partnership in NOOK Media, and look forward to working with them and Microsoft to deliver great digital experiences for our shared customers.”
Will Ethridge, Chief Executive Officer of Pearson North America, said, “Pearson and Barnes & Noble have been valued partners for decades, and in recent years both have invested heavily and imaginatively to provide engaging and effective digital reading and learning experiences. This new agreement extends our partnership and deepens our commitment to provide better, easier experiences for our customers. With this investment we have entered into a commercial agreement with NOOK Media that will allow our two companies to work closely together in order to create a more seamless and effective experience for students. It is another example of our strategy of making our content and services broadly available to students and faculty through a wide range of distribution partners.”
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) is a Fortune 500 company and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products. The company operates 689 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, BN.com (www.bn.com). Its NOOK Media LLC subsidiary is a leader in the emerging digital reading and digital education markets. The NOOK digital business offers award-winning NOOK® products and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store™ (www.nook.com), while Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC operates 674 bookstores serving over 4.6 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble is proud to be named a J.D. Power and Associated 2012 Customer Service Champion and is only one of 50 U.S. companies so named. Barnes & Noble.com is ranked the number one online retailer in customer satisfaction in the book, music and video category and a Top 10 online retailer overall in customer satisfaction according to ForeSee E-Retail Satisfaction Index (Spring Top 100 Edition).
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s corporate website: http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com.
About NOOK Media LLC
NOOK reading and entertainment products make it easy to read what you love, anywhere you like™ with a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. With NOOK, customers gain access to the expansive NOOK Store™ of more than 3 million digital books, plus periodicals, comics, apps, movies and TV shows, and the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through free NOOK Reading Apps™ and NOOK Video apps, available at http://www.nook.com/freenookapps. NOOK owners receive Always Free NOOK Support in any of Barnes & Noble’s nearly 700 bookstores. Find NOOK devices in Barnes & Noble stores and online at http://www.nook.com, as well as leading retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, Target and many others. NOOK products are available in the United Kingdom through http://www.nook.co.uk and leading retailers.
Pearson, the world’s leading learning company, has global reach and market-leading businesses in education, business information and consumer publishing (NYSE: PSO).
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements (within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended) and information relating to Barnes & Noble that are based on the beliefs of the management of Barnes & Noble as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to the management of Barnes & Noble. When used in this communication, the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “plan,” “will” and similar expressions, as they relate to Barnes & Noble or the management of Barnes & Noble, identify forward-looking statements.
Such statements reflect the current views of Barnes & Noble with respect to future events, the outcome of which is subject to certain risks, including, among others, the general economic environment and consumer spending patterns, decreased consumer demand for Barnes & Noble’s products, low growth or declining sales and net income due to various factors, risk that international expansion will not be successfully achieved or may be achieved later than expected, possible disruptions in Barnes & Noble’s computer systems, telephone systems or supply chain, possible risks associated with data privacy, information security and intellectual property, possible work stoppages or increases in labor costs, possible increases in shipping rates or interruptions in shipping service, effects of competition, possible risks that inventory in channels of distribution may be larger than able to be sold, possible risk that returns from consumers or channels of distribution may be greater than estimated, the risk that the expected sales lift from Borders’ store closures is not achieved in whole or part, the risk that digital sales growth is less than expectations and the risk that it does not exceed the rate of investment spend, higher-than-anticipated store closing or relocation costs, higher interest rates, the performance of Barnes & Noble’s online, digital and other initiatives, the performance and successful integration of acquired businesses, the success of Barnes & Noble’s strategic investments, unanticipated increases in merchandise, component or occupancy costs, unanticipated adverse litigation results or effects, product and component shortages, the potential adverse impact on the business resulting from the review of a potential separation of the NOOK digital business, the risk that the transactions contemplated with Pearson are not able to be implemented on the terms contemplated or at all, the risk that the transactions do not achieve the expected benefits for the parties including the risk that NOOK Media’s applications are not commercially successful or that the expected distribution of those applications is not achieved, the risk that any subsequent spin-off, split-off or other disposition by Barnes & Noble of its interest in NOOK Media results in adverse impacts on Company or NOOK Media (including as a result of termination of agreements and other adverse impacts), the potential impact on Barnes & Noble’s retail business of the separation, the potential tax consequences for Barnes & Noble and its shareholders of a subsequent spin-off, split-off or other disposition by Barnes & Noble of its interest in NOOK Media, the risk that the international expansion contemplated by the relationship is not successful, the risk that NOOK Media is not able to perform its obligations under the commercial agreement, the risk that Barnes & Noble may not recoup its investments in the NOOK digital business as part of any separation transaction, the risks, difficulties, and uncertainties that may result from the separation of businesses that were previously co-mingled including necessary ongoing relationships, and potential for adverse customer impacts and other factors which may be outside of Barnes & Noble’s control, including those factors discussed in detail in Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” in Barnes & Noble’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and Form 10-K/A, and in Barnes & Noble’s other filings made hereafter from time to time with the SEC. Our forward looking statements relating to international expansion are also subject to the following risks, among others that may affect the introduction, success and timing of the NOOK e-reader and content in countries outside the United States: we may not be successful in reaching agreements with international companies, the terms of agreements that we reach may not be advantageous to us, our NOOK device may require technological changes to comply with applicable laws, and marketplace acceptance and other companies have already entered the marketplace with products that have achieved some customer acceptance.
Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results or outcomes may vary materially from those described as anticipated, believed, estimated, expected, intended or planned. Subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to Barnes & Noble or persons acting on its behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements in this paragraph. Barnes & Noble undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise after the date of this communication.