Dallas — CompUSA announced late Friday that it has been bought by an affiliate of Gordon Brothers Group, LLC, which will sell or close the chain’s store operations and sell other assets.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
The announcement came after a report in the Wall Street Journal Friday which said that pieces of CompUSA were being shopped around by its corporate parent, Grupo Carso SA and its principal Carlos Slim Helu.
Gordon Brothers is a restructuring and investment firm specializing in retail, consumer products, real estate and industrial sectors. The firm assisted CompUSA with the prior sale of under-performing stores.
In a prepared statement Gordon Brothers Group will initiate an orderly wind-down of CompUSA’s retail store operations and is engaged in discussions with various parties regarding the sale of certain assets. CompUSA’s 103 retail stores will remain open and staffed during the holiday season, “and will offer consumers attractive bargains on computer and electronic products as part of store closing sales.”
“Active discussions are under way to sell select stores in key markets,” the statement went on to say, as well the sale of the company’s technical services business, CompUSA TechPro, and its productive Internet sales operation, CompUSA.com. CompUSA TechPro and CompUSA.com will be operated by the company as going concerns until any sale transactions are closed.
CompUSA will be run by Bill Weinstein, a principal at Gordon Brothers Group, acting as interim president, and by Stephen Gray, managing partner at restructuring firm CRG Partners, who will serve as chief restructuring officer. Current CEO Roman Ross will continue to serve the company in an executive advisory capacity during the transition period.
“An orderly and expedited wind-down and asset sale process is the best option for CompUSA and its creditors at this juncture,” said Weinstein. “We are focused on assuring that CompUSA’s creditors, landlords and other key constituents are treated properly during this process. We are working hard to achieve the maximum recovery possible for the company’s constituents while also minimizing unnecessary expenses. We will actively communicate with the various parties and their advisors starting today, and in the days and weeks ahead.”
DJM Realty, a Gordon Brothers Group company that specializes in real estate disposition and valuations, will assist in assessing the leases for CompUSA’s store locations.
Gordon Brothers Group, through its affiliate Specialty Equity, LLC, is working with Lawrence Gottlieb of Cooley Godward Kronish LLP for unsecured creditors and Jim Carr of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP for landlords.
This year 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, Grupo Carso’s 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.