European Consumer Electronics Retailing Faces Sea-Change

12 May 2008

LONDON: In a move likely to redraw the map of Europe's consumer electronics retail market, America's Best Buy and the UK's Carphone Warehouse last week announced a new £2.2 billion ($4.29bn; €2.77bn) joint venture.

Carphone will transfer all its retail assets into the new venture in which Best Buy – the leading global retailer in consumer electronics – will hold a fifty percent stake.

The alliance hurls a gauntlet at the feet of Europe's current electronic retail titans, Germany's Metro and the UK's DSG International and Kesa – already under pressure from the territorial incursions made by supermarkets and online vendors. 

Carphone ceo Charles Dunstone is not fazed: "We are absolutely going to transform the face of retailing of consumer electronics products in Europe," he boasts.

Some observers, however, see the alliance as Best Buy's springboards into the continent and the likely the precursor of a takeover of Carphone. 

  • In a separate predatory pounce, Carphone has staked a claim to become Britain's largest ADSL supplier with an indicative offer of £550 million for the UK broadband assets of Italy's Tiscali.

    But it is unlikely to be the sole swain, with BT and NewsCorp's BSkyB also in contention for Tiscali's fair hand.

  • Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff