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Trousers $164m - a loss

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Barnes and Noble is stumping up $164m to buy Bertelsmann's 36.8 per cent stake in its ecommerce arm, barnesandnoble.com.

The German media giant pumped $200m when it teamed up Barnes and Noble and has helped fund the business to an unspecified amount since then.

Bertelsmann executed a U-turn last year, junking both its hugely expensive Internet strategy and its chief architect, CEO Thomas Middelhoff.

Bertelsmann has had one huge hit with dotcoms: the JV with AOL to start AOL Europe. The German media giant trousered $6.75bn when AOL bought out its 49 per cent stake in 2002.

But its experience with other online ventures has been dismal, with its decision to come to Napster's rescue in 2002 continuing to haunt it in the form of a $17bn lawsuit. ®

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