Carphone Warehouse has announced plans to create a European consumer electronics empire after striking a £1.1 billion deal with US group Best Buy.
The mobile phone retailer and TalkTalk operator is to spin off its 2,400-strong retail store network into a joint venture with Best Buy, with aims to open stores selling electronic goods from TVs to PCs and laptops throughout the UK and Europe.
Best Buy – one of America’s biggest names in electronics retailing – has agreed to pay £1.1 billion to buy a 50% stake in the new firm, which will mark Carphone Warehouse’s first concerted push into the wider consumer electronics market.
Carphone Warehouse will retain its broadband operation, including Talk Talk and AOL Broadband, and plans to use the cash made from the transaction to further develop its fixed line telecoms business and reportedly fund a war chest to snap up struggling rivals.
It is thought that some of the money raised may go towards a potential bid for the UK operations of the broadband firm Tiscali, which has been put up for sale with the deadline for first round bids understood to be today.
Carphone Warehouse confirmed it was looking at Tiscali, but said it was ‘early days’.
Under the deal with Best Buy, the Carphone Warehouse and Phone House brands will remain as high street stores, but the new venture will see larger retail park-sized consumer electronic Best Buy stores launch across both the UK and Europe.
The new outlets are set for roll-out in 2009, although Carphone Warehouse suggested UK consumers may see the brand appear on these shores sooner.
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