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Education publisher Pearson has purchased a major stake in Nook Media, the company announced today.

Nook Media is a joint venture between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft that was finalized just months ago. The new joint company will focus on producing the line of Nook e-readers and tablets, the Nook digital media store, and college bookstores.

Pearson spent nearly $90 million in cash for a 5 percent stake in Nook Media, with an option to acquire up to 10 percent in the future. That gives Microsoft, which initially invested $300 million back in April, 16.8 percent of the company, with Barnes & Noble retaining the remaining 78.2 percent. The total investment values Nook Media at an estimated $1.8 billion.

“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,” Pearson North America CEO Will Ethridge said in a statement. ” It is another example of our strategy of making our content and services broadly available to students and faculty through a wide range of distribution partners.”

Pearson’s newly announced stake is interesting because it gives Nook devices even more potential to take on Amazon’s Kindle for use in the classroom. Pearson’s stake may also prove helpful now that Apple, which reaffirmed its commitment to education tech earlier this year, has the relatively cheaper iPad Mini on retail shelves.

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