Best Buy Founder Takes His Case for Privatization to Board

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Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) founder and CEO Richard Schulze continues to push his case to take Best Buy private.

"You can easily test how real my proposal is by granting me permission to form a group and by providing basic due diligence information necessary to present a fully financed offer and allow shareholders the opportunity to receive a substantial cash premium for their shares," Schulze wrote in a letter to the board of directors, which was made public through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Earlier this month, Schulze announced his intention to buy out the company for as much as $8.8 billion, or between $24 and $26 a share. He points out in his letter that his buyout proposal would involve "combination of private equity investment, my own substantial equity investment and debt financing." He claims he is prepared to roll over $1 billion in his own equity stake into the transaction.

"I am deeply concerned about the direction of the company and, as Best Buy's largest shareholder, I cannot simply stand aside," Schulze said in his letter. "I still hope to work with the Board on a mutually beneficial transaction - but you should know that I am not going away."

Best Buy has struggled recently due to a drop in demand for electronics and competition from online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN).Analysts and investors have expressed concern about the company becoming an electronics "show room," where customers visit a store to browse electronics but instead purchase the product online or at a cheaper retailer. Certain smartphone applications allow customers to scan bar codes to find the best prices on items.

Shares of the retailer are down about 17% in 2012. Shares were up about 1.5% Thursday morning to $19.65.

Samuel Weigley


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Corporate Governance, Private Equity, Shareholder Issues Tagged: AMZN, BBY
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