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Best Buy Puts $2.1B into Cell-Phone Retailer

London Best Buy Co. is paying $2.1 billion for a 50% stake in a European cell-phone retailer, the companies announced on Thursday.

The Carphone Warehouse will place its 2,400 U.S. and European stores in the new joint venture.

The deal also includes the Web and direct businesses of The Carphone Warehouse, the insurance operations, and its airtime reselling businesses.

The Carphone Warehouse will continue as sole owner of its fixed line telecoms business in the United Kingdom, which includes TalkTalk, AOL Broadband and Opal; and its share of the Virgin Mobile France joint venture.

Carphone Warehouse said it would use the proceeds to pay down debt, invest in broadband customer growth, infrastructure and other areas. Its current European retail management team initially will remain in place, the companies said.