Pearson plc (NYSE: PSO) has invested $89.5 million in Nook Media LLC, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE: BKS), which makes the Nook electronic reader device.

Pearson’s investment will give the learning company a five percent stake in Nook. Barnes & Noble will hold a 78.2 percent stake in the company after the transaction, and Microsoft will own 16.8 percent.

If certain conditions are met, Pearson will earn the option to purchase up to an additional five percent ownership in Nook. The investment should accelerate customer access to digital content by pairing Pearson’s specialty in online learning with Nook’s focus on online distribution. 

“We formed Nook Media to be a leader in the exploding market for digital content,” says William Lynch, chief executive of Barnes & Noble.

“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,” says Pearson’s chief executive, Will Ethridge.

In November, Pearson and Bertelsmann AG announced they would combine their book publishing companies, Penguin Group and Random House, to great the world’s largest consumer book publishing company. The merged company would be called Penguin Random House. The move was designed to compete with internet retailers, including Inc., (Nasdaq: AMZN), which makes the Kindle e-reader. Bertelsmann chief executive Thomas Rabe told reporters the merger would allow the company to invest more in digital operations and emerging markets.

Pearson is a London-based publishing company that has education, business information and consumer businesses.

For more on the education sector, see “With Dealmakers, School is Still in Session.” 

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