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Will B&N’s Nook Division Be an Acquisition Target?

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s feature story discusses Kobo’s ambitious plans put in place following the company’s acquisition by Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. The gist of the story is that the investment made by Rakuten is what is fueling Kobo’s global expansion.

Earlier this month the news broke that Barnes & Noble is considering spinning off the Nook e-reading division, or at the very least repositioning the way in which it reports income from the division to investors. Should B&N opt to spin off the company, one possible scenario is that B&N then looks to sell it outright or bring in a even deeper-pocketed partner. Considering the recent premium Kobo commanded — $315 million, with approximately $150 going back to Indigo, its original owner — it’s one possibility.

As Michael Cader of Publishers Marketplace pointed out back on January 6, this is not likely to happen soon — B&N will move slowly — but the option is there. “Everyone in this field needs to play the long game, which means big investments now to retain a stake in the huge market to come,” wrote Cader. “So far Barnes & Noble has outperformed far larger and better-financed companies, like Google, Apple and Sony. To keep playing against some of the largest companies in the world, a bigger alliance is probably a matter of when and how, not if.”

With it’s plans for international expansion in place and the Nook expanding to the UK, at least, later this year, B&N’s going to need cash to compete. Google and Sony are both well-finances entities, as is, notes Cader, Bertelsmann, which are all staking claims in the international market. Could they be potential suitors for Nook should it become available? And if so, it is the missing piece they are looking for?

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