Continuing to reach along the retail technology food chain, consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co. [BBY] is assembling its own corporate venture arm to act as a source of "innovative growth options for the enterprise rooted in smaller, more innovative and potentially disruptive opportunities."
Best Buy isn't trumpeting this move. Rather, it is quietly searching for investment expertise through job postings, as noted in a CEPro blog entry Tuesday (and flagged by Paul Kedrosky's Infectious Greed). The company describes Best Buy Capital as having two thrusts:
- A program ("Core Fund") supporting investment opportunities for current business units consistent with our past investment activities; and
- A new strategic initiative ("Alpha Fund"), which provides a market-based mechanism for Best Buy to proactively participate in and encourage consumer innovations and disruptions by making direct investments in companies that are early on in its life cycle.
The establishment of Best Buy Capital would follow a handful of acquisitions by the company that have expanded its reach in several directions. It bought tech support service Geek Squad for $3 million in 2002 and broadband service provider Speakeasy Inc. last year for $97 million. - Olaf de Senerpont Domis