Best Buy Offloads mindSHIFT to Ricoh

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**Editor's Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in Q4 2013.**

Ricoh, historically a copier company, is broadening its business model with the acquisition of managed services firm mindSHIFT from Best Buy.

The deal was announced last week, although the amount was not disclosed.

Struggling Best Buy is working to focus on its core business while Ricoh has been beefing up its 8,000-person services unit. mindSHIFT, which specializes in managed IT, cloud, data center and professional services for SMBs, will bring 6,900 more customers to Ricoh.

Best Buy bought mindSHIFT in 2011 for $167 million. Its plan was to offer cloud services to SMBs, and combine IT and professional services from the Geek Squad and Best Buy for Business divisions. But Best Buy's Geek Squad partner program has fallen off the radar, even after a number of master agents were signed, and now the mindSHIFT unit has been sold. Best Buy did not respond to inquires about Geek Squad last year when rumblings about its ailing partner program first surfaced.

Ricoh is expected to retain the mindSHIFT name, its 650 employees and its offices. The transaction should close next month.

Best Buy continues to struggle as its brick-and-mortar setup has faced increasing competition from Internet rivals.

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