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Egghead.com bounces back under Amazon

Amazon.com relaunches the online electronics store after buying its assets in bankruptcy court for $6.1 million in cash.

Online electronics store Egghead.com relaunched Tuesday under the ownership of Amazon.com.

Amazon acquired the online assets of Egghead, which sells computers, software and electronics, on Nov. 26 for $6.1 million and had been redirecting Egghead customers to its own electronics store until the relaunch.

The relaunched site looks similar to co-branded sites Amazon hosts for Target and Borders. The sites have the look and feel of Amazon's other stores but contain some unique products and content.

Hurt by falling sales, Egghead filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. But its path to finding an owner was circuitous. A $10 million deal with Fry's Electronics, a retail chain with stores in Oregon, California, Texas and Arizona, was canceled by Fry's, which was in the midst of also acquiring Egghead competitor Outpost.com. Egghead stopped taking orders shortly after the deal fell through in October.

A key element in the Fry's deal was the customer list. Fry's said the deal hinged on no more than 10 percent of active customers--anyone who bought something at Egghead in the last two years--"opting out" of transferring their data to Fry's. Egghead's privacy policy forbid any acquiring party from using the names, addresses and e-mails of more than 4 million customers.

Amazon agreed to honor the Egghead policy. The new Web page asks returning Egghead customers to re-enter their information, which is subject to Amazon's privacy policy. The Web retailer changed its policy last year to allow the sale of customers' data in the event of a sale or acquisition.

This is not the first rebirth of Egghead, which began as a brick-and-mortar chain. Egghead shut down all of its physical stores in 1998 to focus exclusively on its online channel. Then e-tailer Onsale.com purchased the company in 1999, taking on its name and customers.