Industry News

Radio Shack Declares Bankruptcy (Again);
Sonos Wins Suit Against Denon/D+M

General Wireless Operations Inc. Commences Voluntary Chapter 11 Proceeding

[As you can imagine, it’s not good when a press-release reads like a legal document.  Radio Shack came out of bankruptcy a couple years ago, and now the trimmed-down private company is heading back in, and closing a number of stores. For techies of a certain age, this is sad news—but neither the market nor the Shack are what they used to be. —Ed.]

RadioShack Website and Stores Currently Operating and Serving Customers; Selected Stores Will Close in the Coming Month

Company Looks to Preserve Jobs with Transition Agreement with Sprint Corporation

FORT WORTH, Texas, March 8, 2017- General Wireless Operations Inc. (“RadioShack” or “the Company”), doing business as RadioShack, the neighborhood electronics convenience store, today announced that the Company filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware (“the Court”).

RadioShack.com, stores and dealer locations across the country are still currently open for business and serving customers. The Company is closing approximately 200 stores and evaluating options on the remaining 1,300. The Company and its advisors are currently exploring all available strategic alternatives to maximize value for creditors, including the possibility of keeping stores open on an ongoing basis.

“For nearly 100 years, RadioShack has proudly served local communities across the United States, offering consumers unique, high-quality products at a great value,” said Dene Rogers, RadioShack’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Over the course of the past two years, our talented, dedicated team has worked relentlessly in an effort to revitalize the Company and the RadioShack brand, while providing outstanding service to our customers. We greatly appreciate their hard work and dedication.”

He continued, “Since emerging from bankruptcy two years ago as a privately owned company, our team has made progress in stabilizing operations and achieving profitability in the retail business, while our partner Sprint managed the mobility business. In 2016, we reduced operating expenses by 23%, while at the same time saw gross profit dollars increase 8%. Over the same time, we integrated FedEx pickup / drop-off into 140 RadioShack locations, delivered to customers over 700,000 Hulu login pins and sold more than a million RadioShack private brand headphones and speakers delivering high quality, value- based audio products to consumers across the country. However, for a number of reasons, most notably the surprisingly poor performance of mobility sales, especially over recent months, we have concluded that the Chapter 11 process represents the best path forward for the Company. We will continue to work with our advisors and stakeholders to preserve as many jobs as possible while maximizing value for our creditors.”

About RadioShack

RadioShack, the neighborhood electronics convenience store, is a leading national retailer of innovative personal and home technology products and services, and power supply needs. Founded in 1921, RadioShack is owned today by General Wireless Operations Inc., which acquired the storied brand in April 2015. The new RadioShack has over 1,500 company-owned stores, including 1,200 Sprint Stores at RadioShack, and 425 independent dealers located nationwide.

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Sonos Wins Suit Against Denon/D+M

[This is a little trickier than most newsbites, as there’s been no press-release issued on this subject, only reporting through news outlets.  In 2014 Sonos filed suit against Denon and its parent company D&M Holdings, alleging that Denon’s Heos distributed sound products infringed upon a number of key Sonos patents. As often happens in such cases, D&M counter-filed, alleging that Sonos’ patents (pertaining to design elements like remote volume controls) were in fact devoted to “ineligible subject matter”—meaning that patents had been granted to technology that was unpatentable.

The judge ruled that Sonos’ patents were valued, thus throwing out D&M’s countersuit. Even after 2 1/2 years in litigation, this is far from done, as Sonos continues to pursue final judgment and damages. Another wrench in the works is that D&M Holdings/D+M was recently purchased by the Sound United group, as reported in Copper #28—and the new owners will likely have a say in how the case proceeds.

A summary of the case can be found here, including a link to Judge Richard G. Andrews’ Memorandum Opinion. A news story detailing the circuitous trail of litigation can be found here.–-Ed.]

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