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CompUSA Assets Being Shopped: Report

Mexico City — Pieces of CompUSA are being shopped around by its corporate parent, Grupo Carso SA, according to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper cited unnamed sources who said the Mexican conglomerate had approached Circuit City, Micro Electronics and Systemax’s TigerDirect division about acquiring underperforming stores and its Internet operation.

Circuit City reportedly ended discussions with Grupo Carso after assessing about 50 CompUSA locations, the article noted, and talks with other retailers have similarly petered out.

Rumors of a sale also surfaced in September 2006, when Grupo Carso principal Carlos Slim Helu reportedly hired Credit Suisse Group to shop the struggling retailer to private investors.
This year, under current CEO Roman Ross, CompUSA closed more than half its stores, laid off personnel, restructured its operations and refocused its merchandising strategy. The chain has been struggling for several years to find a game plan within the commodity-driven PC market, including an ill-fated effort to enter the A/V category by acquiring the now-defunct Good Guys chain in 2003. Earlier that year, Helu made an unsolicited bid to buy Circuit City for $1.5 billion after taking a 9.2 percent stake in the CE chain. He later sold his shares after Circuit’s board rejected the offer.