Best Buy launches European venture

From the Associated Press

Best Buy Co., the largest U.S. consumer electronics chain, has moved into Europe with a $2.1-billion investment in the continent's largest cellphone retailer, the companies announced Thursday.

Best Buy's 50% stake in a joint venture with Carphone Warehouse Group will allow it to roll out its trademark big-box stores in Europe, with the London-based company putting its 2,400 European stores into the new operation.

The companies said they had been speaking for four years and had collaborated by developing Best Buy Mobile in the U.S. and bringing Best Buy's Geek Squad computer support task force to Europe.

"We believe our combined expertise has potential to result in significant financial upside as we together attempt to transform retail in Europe through the Carphone Warehouse, Phone House and Best Buy brands," said Brian Dunn, president and chief operating officer of Carphone Warehouse.

Brad Anderson, chief executive of Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy, said the companies shared similar cultures and customer-related skills. He said the joint venture would enable Best Buy to grow.

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