Best Buy Dumps Stake in European Joint Venture

BestBuy storefront OK
BestBuy storefront OK

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) announced this morning that it has agreed to sell its 50% stake in European joint venture Carphone Warehouse Europe for about $775 million. Of the sale price, Best Buy will receive about $651 million in cash and the rest in Carphone Warehouse stock, which may not be sold for 12 months. The other joint venture partner was Carphone Warehouse Group.

In 2008, Best Buy paid about $1.1 billion to increase its 3% stake in Carphone Warehouse to 50%. The European firm operates about 2,400 stores in eight European countries. Best Buy has agreed to pay Carphone Warehouse approximately $45 million by the deal's closing to exit existing agreements.

Best Buy's CEO said:

After reviewing the business and spending time with our partners, we concluded that the timing and economics were right to enter into this agreement with [Carphone Warehouse]. This transaction allows us to 1) simplify our business; 2) substantially improve our Return on Invested Capital, one of the five pillars of our Renew Blue transformation; and 3) strengthen our balance sheet.

From the look of it, Best Buy got a pretty good deal here. Sure it lost a few hundred million over five years, but the performance of its U.S. stores was much worse than that.

Shares of Best Buy are up about 5% in premarket trading this morning, at $25.40 in a 52-week range of $11.20 to $26.29.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Consumer Electronics, Retail, Services Tagged: BBY