Carphone Warehouse is planning to redouble its efforts in pushing the business forward, after the ‘new dawn’ of taking full control of the retailer from Best Buy, its UK CEO has said.
This week marked the end of the five-year joint venture between Carphone Warehouse Europe and American big box retailer Best Buy. While Best Buy paid £1.1bn for a 50% stake in the European mobile phone giant in 2008, Carphone Warehouse exited the partnership in a deal worth £471m. Attempts to get the American ‘big box’ retail format working in the European market failed within months and the 11 UK stores were closed in early 2012.
Speaking to Mobile hours after the deal was announced, CEO Andrew Harrison said: ‘This is a new dawn for us as retailers, reviving the entrepreneurial spirit, redoubling our effort to push forward in the next phase of the business.’
Manufacturers and operators had criticised Carphone Warehouse in the years during the Best Buy partnership for being focused on the wrong things. Independent rival Phones 4u has been seen as a vibrant challenger to Carphone, and operators have received plaudits for raising their retail game. When asked if the deal was a mis-step for the company, Harrison said: ‘I don’t think we ever lost our entrepreneurial spirit. There is a lot of focus on getting the core business right, going back to finding those opportunities – or distractions, as some like to call them – will come again.’
He said the company had emerged much stronger because of the Best Buy partnership. He said it was able to spin off Talk Talk as a publicly listed company thanks to the original investment made by Best Buy in 2008. He said: ‘Part of our DNA is our willingness to try things. The history books will record our successes – and they come from our ability to take risks. With that approach, it means not everything you try will work [to the same degree]. But we have created a lot of value.’
Carphone Warehouse Europe said the deal will give it greater autonomy and make day to day decision making quicker. It is now looking to push growth throughout Europe and is targeting a return to the FTSE-100 list of companies.
Author: Graeme Neill