US gadget megastore Best Buy has severed its final ties to the UK, selling its shares in Carphone Warehouse at a huge loss.
The retailer is flogging off its half of Best Buy Europe, the joint venture it setup with Carphone in 2008. It's selling it back to Carphone for £500m, made up of £420m in cash and £80m in Carphone shares, Best Buy announced today.
It bought that 50 per cent share for a staggering £1.1bn five years ago, a few months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers that precipitated our current economic woes.
Best Buy launched in the UK as a PC World-type warehouse retailer, along with a website, in 2010. We were there at the opening of its flagship store in glamorous Thurrock, three years ago last week.
It all went south just 18 months later, with its 11 big-box stores shutting up shop in late 2011, amid reports of heavy losses. Its closure was lamented by CNET UK readers, who liked its helpful staff and huge range of stock, but didn't understand how it could afford to match Amazon's prices.
Carphone, which also runs Phone House stores across Europe, is relatively profitable, making £119m profit on sales of £3.3bn in 2011-12, although its revenue was down by 5.5 per cent, according to the FT.
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