Best Buy grabs Speakeasy, Covad Smiles

After fighting it out with the big boys for nearly half a decade, and being in business since 1994, Speakeasy has decided that it was time to sell. Who can blame them… they were fighting it out with AT&T, Comcast, Qwest… the telco rogues gallery.

The retail chain paid about $97 million for Speakeasy, a DSL and broadband reseller, all packaged nicely in a “geek cred” bundle. Speakeasy will now be a fully owned subsidiary of BestBuy. The deal is a decent exit for venture capitalists who pumped in around $27 million into Speakeasy. Backers include BV Capital, Granite Ventures and Intel Capital. It’s also potential good news for Covad, Speakeasy’s wholesale provider.

Why Best Buy? Speakeasy CEO Bruce Chatterley says it’s going to part of the Best Buy for Business service, which indicates that Speakeasy might be getting out of consumer services – otherwise Best Buy could lose some of the big broadband reselling deals it has with incumbents.

This shift of focus is good for Speakeasy’s wholesale broadband partner, Covad, which has the requisite infrastructure in place to service business customers, and could see an uptick in demand if Best Buy does actually manage to sell Speakeasy’s services alongside computers, phones, printers and whatnot. Just another wrinkle in the SMB VoIP market!

Larry Dignan’s take is along these lines, except more indepth.