Book chain Barnes & Noble is set to acquire one of the leading tech book sellers, Fatbrain.com, in a cash and stock deal valued at roughly $64 million.
At a time when B&N rival Amazon is expanding into other markets, the addition of Fatbrain, which has more than 3.5 million business users, gives B&N’s online bookselling division some added muscle.
The move also marks an expansion of B&N’s e-publishing and distribution business by increasing its stake in digital content provider Mightwords.com — a Fatbrain offshoot — from 30% to approximately 50%. As e-publishers jockey for position in the nascent e-books business, many will be watching B&N to see whether the bookseller pursues a larger, more competitive role as a digital content provider.
After the merger, which is subject to regulatory and stockholder approvals, Fatbrain will remain a wholly owned subsidiary of B&N.