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Carphone Warehouse to separate telco and retail arms

by Scott Bicheno on 17 April 2008, 12:52

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Carphone Warehouse (CPW) has announced it is to ‘create greater autonomy’ between its traditional mobile phone business and its rapidly-growing broadband interests, which include AOL UK and Talk Talk.

A CPW spokesperson told HEXUS.channel today: ‘Each business is being given greater autonomy while remaining under the Carphone Warehouse umbrella. This is in order to safeguard the independence and impartiality of each business.’

It seems that it was decided that Talk Talk was all grown-up now and can stand on its own two feet, rather than having loads of subscribers fed to it from the stores. The stores will now be free to flog any broadband they want, regardless of who provides it.

‘We can now go to BT or BSkyB and guarantee that if they want to make their broadband available through our stores they will get equal treatment,’ said the spokesperson.

CPW CEO Charles Dunstone said the following in the press release that accompanied its Q4 trading update:

‘The steps we are taking to devolve greater flexibility and responsibility to the divisional level will allow our businesses to develop more effectively in their dynamic markets and avoid duplication of central and divisional costs. Progress in the US continues to be very encouraging, and with our partners Best Buy we believe this can become a significant third leg for the Group over the medium term.’

It seems that the traditional, UK, Carphone Warehouse business will continue to be headed up by Andrew Harrison, while Talk Talk will keep Wendy Becker as MD.

All the stuff going on with Best Buy in the US is a third distinct operation.The aim is to have a CPW presence in all Best Buy stores by the end of 2008, we were told.

Dunstone and co-owner David Ross (!) still own the majority of the company, apparently, so any talk about a take-over bid by Best Buy has to be taken with a pinch of salt as it would be virtually impossible without Dunstone and Ross’s cooperation.

Further analysis on HEXUS.channel: CPW thinking ahead of the curve

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