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Have PIXmania. In fact, have £59m with it too, Dixons tell German VCs

Venture capital bods take gadget souk off hands of high street retailer

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Dixons Retail has forked out £59m to convince German venture capitalist mutares AG to take loss-making web shop PIXmania off its hands.

And so ends the retail firm's costly flirtation with the online gadget souk seven years after it coughed €266m for a 77 per cent stake in the biz and a little over a year after it bought the remaining shares for €10m.

The requisite consultations with the relevant works council in France, where PIXmania is based, progressed "swiftly" said Dixons Retail boss Sebastian James.

In the most recent closed fiscal year ended April, PIXmania generated an operating loss of £31.3m compared to an operating loss of £20m in the previous financial year.

Sales came in at £397.7m, a steep fall on the £655m the online operation had made in fiscal 2012. Gross assets stood at £48m.

This came after Dixons tasked long serving director Phil Birkeck with restructuring the online outlet and improving sales in August last year.

The £59m dowry is to make sure the new owner have enough working capital to fund operations, and is reminiscent of when Kesa Electricals sold Comet to a VC for £1 while also handing over £50m in cash for the privilege. ®

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