Best Buy Spends $97 Million on Speakeasy

Electronics retailer Best Buy has announced an agreement to acquire DSL provider Speakeasy for approximately $97 million. In 1994, Speakeasy started out in Seattle as one of the first Internet cafes; eventually, the company turned into one of the United States’ largest providers of DSL and data services. Best Buy’s interest in Speakeasy is primarily to bolster the retailer’s business operations: it plans to offer Speakeasy’s small business DSL and connectivity packages through its own Best Buy for Business program.

“Best Buy For Business is all about helping small businesses grow or operate more efficiently through technology,” said Darren Jackson, Best Buy’s executive VP and CFO, in a statement. “By joining forces with Speakeasy, a company with a true passion for helping entrepreneurs run their businesses, we are making technology more accessible to small businesses by creating a single source for their IT needs.”

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2008, which means Speakeasy’s current 40,000+ DSL customers probably have time to catch their breath before having to worry about whether they’ll be faced with service changes. Both companies’ public statements on the acquisition go to lengths to assure Speakeasy’s current customers they can be comfortable with the sale.

“We have a high regard for Speakeasy’s employees, their culture, and their valued relationships with customers and vendors,” Jackson said. “They have a strong customer service-oriented approach, which is an excellent fit with Best Buy’s culture and direction.” In an email message to Speakeasy customers, president and CEo Bruce Chatterly noted that Speakeasy “we will continue to operate as a standalone, independent operating division with headquarters in Seattle.”