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BCE to buy Circuit City's The Source

TORONTO (Reuters) - BCE Inc BCE.TO, Canada's biggest telecom company, is moving to vastly expand its retail presence by buying electronics chain The Source from Circuit City Stores Inc CCTYQ.PK for an undisclosed sum.

For BCE and its core Bell unit, the acquisition of more than 750 Source stores across Canada is faster and cheaper than expanding its own retail network, the company said on Monday.

Broadening BCE’s retail presence to spur sales of wireless, digital television, Internet and home-phone services is a stated goal of Chief Executive George Cope.

“We need to grow the number of locations that sell Bell Mobility products,” Cope said in February.

The Source, which Circuit City acquired in March 2004, will continue to operate independently from Bell. It will carry its own lineup of consumer electronics aside from a slate of Bell products.

BCE said the chain had C$643 million ($498.4 million) in revenue for the year ended December 31. Its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization were about C$27 million over the same period.

BCE said it doesn’t expect to disclose the exact price of the acquisition until after the deal has been completed.

U.S.-based Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November.

BCE announced the acquisition after the markets closed. Its shares fell 63 Canadian cents to C$24.20 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

($1=$1.29 Canadian)

Reporting by Wojtek Dabrowski; editing by Peter Galloway

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