UK retailers Carphone Warehouse, Dixons to merge

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

LONDON (AP) — British cellphone seller Carphone Warehouse and consumer electronics retailer Dixons Retail Group announced plans to merge Thursday in a deal that values the combined business at 3.8 billion pounds ($6.4 billion).

The deal is aimed at creating a major player in the "Internet of Things" — the growing range of Internet-enabled devices, from, fridges to toasters.

Dixons chief executive Sebastian James said the new company would be "a leading force for retailing in a connected world."

Dixons Carphone PLC will have more than 2,000 stores and 43,500 employees across Europe and annual sales of about 12 billion pounds. Dixons owns Britain's Currys and PC World chains, as well as Elkjop in the Nordic region and Electro World in central Europe.

Ownership will be split evenly between the two firms' shareholders.

Dixons said the deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, would not involve store closures, and should see the workforce grow by about 4 percent.

Last year Carphone Warehouse pulled out of a joint venture with American retailer Best Buy which had failed in its goal of creating a major new chain of big box electronics stores in Britain.

Shares in both companies fell Thursday morning. Carphone Warehouse stocks were down 1.9 percent at 321.6 pence, while Dixons' shares sagged 3.4 percent to 49.19 pence.