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CompUSA Stores Going Out of Business

Date: 1/28/2008 2:32:25 AM

CompUSA, the computer and gadget retailer controlled by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, has been sold to a restructuring and investment firm that will close stores and sell some company assets

The new owner is Bostonbased Gordon Brothers Group, which recently helped CompUSA sell underperforming stores.

The terms of the deal were not not disclosed. Dallasbased CompUSA said on Friday that active discussions are underway to sell its technical services business, CompUSA TechPro, its online sales operation,, and select stores in key markets.

The chains 103 retail stores will remain open and staffed during the holiday season, offering discounts on computer and electronics ahead of the planned store closures.

"An orderly and expedited winddown and asset sale process is the best option for CompUSA and its creditors at this juncture," said Bill Weinstein, a Gordon Brothers principal who will be running CompUSA as its interim president.

"We worked long and hard with Gordon Brothers Group to achieve a business solution that maximizes CompUSAs assets," said Roman Ross, CompUSAs current chief executive, who will continue to serve the company in an advisory capacity.

Earlier this year, the company closed more than half of its U.S. retail stores in a bid to streamline operations and bolster margins at topperforming stores.

Fridays sale did not come as a complete surprise to industry watchers.

News reports have suggested that Slim who is among the worlds wealthiest individuals was seeking to unload more of his interest in the company.

A spokesman for Circuit City Stores Inc. told Reuters on Friday that representatives from CompUSA approached his company about possibly taking over properties.

Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Fassler said prior to the announcement of the sale that the closure of more CompUSA stores would be a positive development for rivals Best Buy Co Inc., Circuit City, Office Depot Inc., OfficeMax Inc. and Staples Inc.

Consolidation in the electronic retailing sector has resulted in intense competition as large companies such a Best Buy Inc and WalMart Stores Inc. undercut smaller rivals such as CompUSA and Circuit City.

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