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Wattles: Circuit Could Be Sold In Two Months

5/09/2008 04:32:00 PM Eastern

Las Vegas — Mark Wattles, who led the effort to get Circuit City to consider alternative strategies, including a buyout, believes the chain could be sold to one of several bidders within the next two to three months.

In an interview with TWICE late this afternoon, the Ultimate Electronics owner said that multiple parties may be interested in the ailing CE chain, and that the buyer will likely be a private equity firm with deep-enough pockets to take the company private.

That scenario would be a win-win-win for shareholders, CE vendors and Circuit City employees, Wattles said, as it would keep the company well-capitalized and give it time to get back on track without the scrutiny and distractions of the public markets.

Wattles believes that a buyout by Blockbuster would also be a positive move for Circuit. “I’ve competed against them [as founder of Hollywood Video] and they have an exceptional employee hiring and training program” — an area where Circuit has fallen short after gutting its most seasoned staffers last year.

He also described Blockbuster CEO Jim Keyes as an “outstanding” chief executive.

Wattles said he has had numerous meetings with Circuit’s board and financial advisor, Goldman Sachs, in recent days, and that the company’s change of heart came after the directors were convinced that shareholder dissatisfaction was rampant.

“Once our discussions began, things moved very rapidly,” he said.

Separately, Circuit City has issued a “Customer FAQ” addressing possible shopper concerns over the status of their warranty and gift cards should the company be sold.