Rumor Watch: Microsoft to Acquire B&N’s Nook Business

Rumor Watch Microsoft to Acquire B&N's Nook BusinessOn Monday, William Lynch Jr., the chief executive of Barnes & Noble, abruptly resigned from the company following months of struggling sales and less-than-optimistic outlooks.

On Tuesday, a major rumor followed yesterday’s announcement of the major executive shakeup.

In what could be one of the biggest moves imaginable for the Nook business, the entire unit may soon be acquired by Microsoft. According to published reports Tuesday, Microsoft may cough up north of $1 billion to acquire all of the digital assets of Nook Media.

Even though Barnes & Noble quickly gained a sizable piece of the e-book market, it was not enough to ward off Amazon. And as black-and-white e-readers gave way to multifunctional color tablets, Barnes & Noble found itself competing unsuccessfully against companies many times its size, like Amazon and Apple, that have had technology in their DNA from the start.

Of course, we’ve long known that the software giant has an interest in B&N. Just last year, the NY Times confirmed, Microsoft invested $300 million into Barnes & Noble’s Nook business.

Internal documents obtained by TechCrunch in May also indicated that Microsoft “would redeem preferred units in Nook Media, which also includes a college book division, leaving it with the digital operation — e-books, as well as Nook e-readers and tablets.”

Microsoft and B&N are yet to comment on the speculation.