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Retailer Fry's buys stake in Outpost.com

The electronics retailer has acquired nearly 10 percent of the electronics e-tailer, according to an SEC filing.

Retailing giant Fry's Electronics has taken a stake in Outpost.com.

The San Jose, Calif.-based company has acquired 9.97 percent of the online electronics e-tailer, according to a regulatory document filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The investment marks the latest move by the Silicon Valley icon onto the Internet.

Representatives for Fry's and Outpost did not return calls seeking comment.

One of the first online retailers, Kent, Conn.-based Outpost has fallen on tough times in recent months. Last month, Outpost laid off 30 percent of its work force and replaced Chief Executive Katherine Vick. Chief Financial Officer Paul Williams III and directors James Preston and Michael Murray also resigned last month.

On top of mounting losses, the company's stock price has closed consistently below $1 per share in recent months and fell as low as 13 cents last month. Earlier this year, the company ended its policy of free overnight shipping on certain orders.

Fry's, meanwhile, has taken tentative steps online. The company launched its Web site last summer and is selling Internet access through it, but it has yet to sell any of its electronics goods through the site. Earlier this year, the company threatened to sue a man for posting the company's advertisements on his Frysad.com Web site.

Fry's purchased 3.15 million shares of Outpost stock for about $2.3 million. The filing did not say when the company acquired the shares. Fry's did not appear on a proxy statement list of investors filed with the SEC last June indicating those owning at least 5 percent of Outpost.

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