Donald W. Reynolds National Center For Business Journalism

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WSJ looks at company buying defunct business names

March 24, 2010

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Systemax Inc. WSJ

The Wall Street Journal continues its series “The Road Back” looking at a company that purchased the names of defunct retailers and is bringing them back to life.

In Web Breathes New Life Into Failed Retailers, staff reporter Miguel Bustillo writes:

“The retail graveyard is filled with venerable names that were felled by the recession. Now, some risk-taking companies are trying to profit by bringing brands back from the dead. Systemax Inc., best known as the parent of Internet computer-parts retailer TigerDirect.com, gambled by buying the rights to the names of two deceased store chains, CompUSA for $30 million in 2008 and Circuit City for $14 million in 2009.”

The story includes details on how Systemax has rebranded the names as well as customer comments.

Keep your eye out for brand resurrections.

With the recession shuttering so many businesses, it will be interesting to see what other company names resurface.

To research a company name, see this Business Registry Database on the Oregon Secretary of State’s Web site. You can enter a name and learn when it was first registered and get location information. For more specific information about the sale of names, go to the U.S. Securities and Exchange site.

You can also search your state’s Division of Corporations for company name information.

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