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Report: Private-equity firms bidding for RadioShack

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Several large private-equity firms have submitted bids to acquire electronics retailer RadioShack, and competitor Best Buy Co. is said to possibly be among the interested buyers.

According to a report Tuesday by the New York Post, a potential bidding war for RadioShack looms, as potential bidders include Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital, Blackstone Group and TPG.

The Post also said at least one strategic bidder is participating in the auction, possibly Best Buy.

RadioShack hired Goldman Sachs to explore strategic alternatives including a potential sale of the company that could garner in excess of $3 billion. The initial bidding round was completed last week, and Blackstone is a leading participant, according to the report.

This week, CEO Julian Day and other RadioShack executives are slated to give presentations to bidders.

RadioShack’s retail rival Best Buy has kept an “extremely low profile” during the process, one banking source said, and it isn’t yet clear whether it is among the bidders.

Still, at least one “strategic” bidder — possibly a competing retailer, and possibly Best Buy — is already participating in the auction, now that the first round of bids are in, according to the report.

Blackstone Group’s participation in the auction is notable, say industry watchers, because the firm has made few investments in the retail industry — with the exception of Michael’s Stores, the report said.

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Tiffany’s Q1 profit sparkles

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Tiffany & Co.’s net income more than doubled in the first quarter as its revenue rose in the United States and soared 50% in Asia, the company said Thursday.

The jeweler said it earned $64.4 million in the three months ended April 30. That compares with $24.3 million a year earlier. Revenue rose 22% to $633.6 million.

Revenue in the Americas increased 22% to $315.3 million, versus a 31% drop in the year-ago period. Adjusted for currency fluctuations, revenue rose 20%, and same-store sales rose 15%, led by the flagship on New York’s Fifth Avenue, where the figure rose 26%.

In the Asia-Pacific region, which doesn’t include Japan, Tiffany’s revenue soared 50% to $122.3 million. During the first quarter, the company opened its third store in Shanghai; by the end of the period, it operated 11 stores in China. Company officials said that they plan to have a total of 30 stores in China within the next five years.

In Japan, revenue slipped 2% to $115 million. Business in Europe rose 25% to $68.6 million.

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Best Buy Mobile enhances Web site

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Best Buy Mobile has annouced the re-launch of BestBuy.com/Mobile. According to the company, the new Web site will include such new features as online purchasing and Instant Ship, the new online hub offers convenient, customer-focused solutions for on-the-go gadget shoppers.

Through the new Web site, customers can now purchase a mobile phone online and have it shipped to their home or they can pick it up in-store. For customers needing assistance while choosing their phone online, Best Buy Mobile has a dedicated call center to respond.

 

“The capabilities within the enhanced site in combination with our in-store experience give Best Buy something completely and totally unique in the mobile phone marketplace,” said Shawn Score, president of Best Buy Mobile. “Now, we are truly a multi-channel mobile phone retailer supporting customers when and where they choose to engage us.”

 

Best Buy’s Mobile Web site provides customers with a larger range of functions, which include:

    * Online purchases: Customers can purchase a mobile phone with a contract using online channels. Customers place their order, and can then choose to pick up in store or have their new phone shipped directly to their home.    * Instant Ship: With Instant Ship, if a customer comes in and is qualified for a device that is not available in-store, the device can be ordered and shipped directly from the Web site. Instant Ship online improves the options of phones and colors for customers, and allows customers to have their new handset delivered right to their home.

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