Barnes & Noble regains full ownership of Nook unit

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NEW YORK (AP) — Bookseller Barnes & Noble says it has bought back full ownership of its Nook e-reader business, which it plans to split into a separate company.

Barnes & Noble said Tuesday it bought Pearson Inc.'s stake in Nook for about $27.7 million in cash and stock. The deal closed Monday, and Barnes & Noble said it now owns Nook Media outright.

Pearson is a publisher of educational books. Barnes & Noble paid Pearson $13.8 million in cash and about 603,000 shares of its own stock, which closed at $23.12 on Monday.

Barnes & Noble, the largest U.S. traditional bookseller, is struggling against tough competition from online retailers like Amazon and discount stores like Wal-Mart. It said in June that it would split off the Nook business, which is losing money. The move is intended to boost shareholder value. The New York company hopes to complete the separation by the end of August.

Earlier this month Barnes & Noble agreed to buy back Microsoft Corp.'s stake in Nook for $125 million. Microsoft had paid $300 million for a minority stake in Nook and Barnes & Noble's college bookstores in 2012, and Barnes & Noble supplied Nook content and apps for Microsoft's Windows products.

Barnes & Noble Inc. shares rose 47 cents, or 2 percent, to $23.59 in morning trading.

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