Mexican Firm In Take Over Bid For CompUSA

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Mexican retail and Internet giant Grupo Sanborns reported yesterday it will take a majority stake in CompUSA in a stock deal valued at about $1 billion.

Grupo Sanborns took a minority position in CompUSA last year.

The news sent CompUSA shares soaring up $2.75 to $9.50 at the close of business Monday. A spokeswoman for Dallas-based CompUSA said Sanborns will pay $10.10 in cash for each common share of CompUSA that it doesn't already own - a 50 percent premium over the chain's Friday closing price of $6.75.

"We believe that we can build CompUSA into an even stronger competitor in the consumer technologies sector," said Slim Domit, chairman of Grupo Sanborns. "We also believe that we can re-energize the organization by taking the consumer experience of shopping at CompUSA to a new level, by uniting excellent customer service, whether in-store or online."

CompUSA has 217 computer superstores across the U.S., but has run into financial trouble during the past 12 months due to competition from rivals Circuit City, Best Buy and direct sellers Dell and Gateway. Last year it slashed 1,500 jobs and announced it would shift its product focus away from computers to consumer electronics. CompUSA posted losses of $46 million for its last fiscal year ended June 1999. Losses for its first quarter are about $12 million.

"We believe that this offer represents a good value for our shareholders and an exciting new future for our customers, employees and business partners," said James Halpin, president and CEO of CompUSA, said in a written release.

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