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Massive losses and stiff competition lead to a battered and broken CompUSA

Rumors of CompUSA's demise have been running around the Internet for the past couple of days, but official confirmation has finally come down from the top. The company announced yesterday that it was acquired by an investment firm and that all of the company's businesses and assets would be sold.

Under the terms of the deal, ownership of CompUSA will be transferred from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim to the Gordon Brothers Group. "An orderly and expedited wind-down and asset sale process is the best option for CompUSA and its creditors at this juncture," said Bill Weinstein of the Gordon Brothers Group.

"We worked long and hard with Gordon Brothers Group to achieve a business solution that maximizes CompUSA's assets," said CompUSA CEO Roman Ross.

According to Bloomberg, the Dallas-based company has courted Circuit City, Micro Electronics and Systemax to purchase closing retail locations and acquire business operations including CompUSA TechPro, CompUSA.com and CompUSA’s technical services division.

CompUSA lost $45.7 million USD during Q3 2007 on revenues $424 million USD. The company has not been able to battle losses despite cash infusions of $2 billion USD and $440 million USD in 1999 and early 2007 respectively.

Those looking to take advantage of reduced prices on tech gifts for friends and family many want to head down to your local CompUSA -- if you still have one left. The company's remaining 103 stores will remain open through the holiday season and will provide steep discounts on all remaining products.

CompUSA, under the direction of Carlos Slim, took drastic steps to turn around its business. The company closed 126 underperforming stores nationwide in February. "Based on changing conditions in the consumer retail electronics market, the company identified the need to close and sell stores with low performance or non-strategic, old store layouts and locations faced with market saturation," said Ross in late February.

Increasing competition from electronics giant Best Buy, a reinvigorated Circuit City and retail monster Wal-Mart left little room for error during CompUSA's restructuring phase.

CompUSA has taken numerous hits over the years for its business practices and its service. The company has also been nicknamed by many techies as CompUSSR for its sometimes “shady” business practices. Most recently, the company came under fire for its mail-in rebate promotions. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped in and a more streamlined, paper-less Internet-based system was introduced to aid consumers.





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