Microsoft and Barnes & Noble have teamed up to compete against Apple and Amazon in the eBooks business. The new partnership sees Microsoft investing $300 million in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary.
The $300 million investment in the Nook subsidiary of Barnes & Noble gives Microsoft about 17.6 percent ownership of this business unit. That values this part of the business at about $1.7 billion. Before the markets opened this morning, the Nook business was valued about $900 million more than Barnes & Noble itself.
In addition, Microsoft is paying another $305 million to get Nook on Windows 8 with some content:
Microsoft will be paying the Barnes & Noble subsidiary $180 million for revenue sharing on the Nook app that B&N will make for the Windows 8 platform. This is nonrefundable, the filing notes. Microsoft is also paying $125 million (equal to $25 million over five years) “for purposes of assisting NewCo in acquiring local digital reading content and technology development.” This, too, looks to be nonrefundable.
To put that in perspective, in the last quarter Barnes and Noble made $52 million in profit (on $2.4 billion in sales), and Amazon pulled in $130 million in profit (on $13 billion in sales). Clearly, Amazon has a big edge over B&N.
But, when you look at Microsoft’s earnings for the last quarter, $5.1 billion in profit (on $17 billion in sales), it looks like the big dog just entered the game. But, don’t forget that Apple is on the scene as well.
Clearly, the e-reader battle is just heating up and everyone wants a piece.
On a side note, Target just announced they are pulling all Kindle’s from their stores due to ‘showrooming.’ The practice of visiting Target to physically touch a product, so you can then buy it on Amazon.
Both Om Malik and Robert Scoble make interesting points, Facebook paid double for what many considered Instagram to be worth and Facebook desperately needs help with mobile devices.
From Om Malik:
A few days ago Instagram was rumored to be valued at $500 million. A few months ago it was $300 million. Its last round — just a year ago – valued the company at $100 million.
The rising valuation of the company was reflective of the growing audience it has been garnering, despite being just on the iPhone. It had reached nearly 30 million registered users before it launched an Android app.
So the question is: Why did Mark Zuckerberg buy Instagram at twice the valuation that professional venture investors were putting on it?
From Zuckerberg’s post on Facebook:
This is an important milestone for Facebook because it’s the first time we’ve ever acquired a product and company with so many users. We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all. But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.
My translation: Facebook was scared shitless and knew that for first time in its life it arguably had a competitor that could not only eat its lunch, but also destroy its future prospects. Why? Because Facebook is essentially about photos, and Instagram had found and attacked Facebook’s achilles heel — mobile photo sharing.
From Robert Scoble:
Facebook has a problem. After its IPO completes it needs many quarters of strong revenue and profit growth to report to convince investors to stay put and convince new ones to buy the stock.
Zuckerberg is aiming at turning the $80 to $100 billion valuation that will happen at IPO into a $500 billion to $1 trillion company. How will he do that?
Look at mobile.
Today Facebook has NO revenues from mobile. None. That’s amazing, since so many people, hundreds of millions of us, use Facebook on mobile clients.
That will change very quickly after the IPO. Instagram will play a huge role here, plus Facebook gets a very talented mobile development team that has built world-leading mobile apps on iOS and Android (which got a million users in its first day).
Some interesting thoughts from Om Malik, founder of GigaOm, after their latest acquisition. He hints that while everyone can blog only certain websites can grab users attention and continue to do so.
Media is the new Wild West
We are quite strategic about our acquisitions — we acquire media entities only if we love the people and believe that we are at the starting phase of a trend. In 2008, we acquired jkOnTheRun as our tip of the hat to the growing demand for mobile devices and the changes it would bring into society. Later that year, we brought in The Apple Blog because we knew the best was yet to come for Apple. Both of those acquisitions have helped GigaOM cover the issues that matter most to our ultimate customers — you, the reader — in a smart, sensible fashion.
“The question that mass amateurization poses to traditional media is ‘What happens when the costs of reproduction and distribution go away? What happens when there is nothing unique about publishing anymore because users can do it for themselves?’ We are now starting to see that question being answered.”— Clay Shirky
Shirky’s observation means that we are in a time of chaos where the very idea of media is being questioned. And as a Chinese proverb says, from chaos emerges opportunity. I believe the best is yet to come for media.
I have always believed that we’ve got to stop thinking of media as what it was and focus on more of what it could be. In the world of plenty, the only currency is attention and attention is what defines “media.”
via Why we are buying paidContent
It may also help to have a name that squishes together multiple words into one 🙂
A review of the reviews from Om Malik.
The new iPad reviews are out and here is my summary of those reviews: LTE is fast, the retina display is stunning and immersive, the new processor is speedy, the camera takes great pictures now, and the more (1 GB) memory makes the iPad awesome. In short, it is totally worth buying and upgrading.
The new iPad is a little fat and little heavy, but don’t worry — wear an untucked shirt and no one would notice. Oh, but the way, bulk or not, it is still the tablet king and it totally kicks Android’s derriere. It is a little expensive, but don’t worry, it is worth it.
My favorite review is that by Dalrymple, so read it. The old hand Mossberg is still the gold standard when it comes to reviews. And Gruber is well Gruber.
The only thing I have to add is that ars technica always has the best review but it takes several days to come out. I’ll post that once it hits the presses, until then enjoy these.