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Best Buy invests $2.1 billion in European phone retailer

In an effort to boost its mobile business, the electronics retailer is taking a 50 percent stake in European cell phone retailer Carphone Warehouse.

Best Buy, the largest consumer electronics retailer in the U.S., is getting into the European cell phone market by taking a stake in retailer Carphone Warehouse.

Best Buy, which operates 900 stores across the U.S., will pay $2.1 billion for half interest in Carphone Warehouse, the largest cell phone retailer in Europe.

Carphone Warehouse's 2,400 U.S. and European stores will be included in the new joint venture. Also included in the deal are Carphone Warehouse's Web, insurance, and airtime reselling businesses. But the company will retain full ownership of its traditional landline phone business in the U.K. and France.

The companies have already worked together on developing Best Buy Mobile, a joint venture launched in 2006 with retail stores focused on selling mobile phones. Best Buy Mobile now has 200 mobile outlets, mostly in existing Best Buy stores.

Best Buy and Carphone Warehouse have also collaborated on bringing the Geek Squad, a 24-hour computer support team, to Europe.