Market Overview

Best Buy's Founder Schulze Considering Going Private


Richard Schulze, the founder of consumer electronics retailer Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), is currently exploring the possibility of taking the company private, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The news is just the latest twist in what has been a tumultuous year for Best Buy, after Schulze resigned from his position on the board earlier in June, stating on his way out that he may sell his 20.1% stake in the retailer.

"I continue to believe in Best Buy and its future--and care deeply about its customers, employees and shareholders," Schulze said in a statement as he left. "There is an urgent need for Best Buy to reinvigorate growth by reconnecting with today's customers and building pathways to the next generation of consumers."

Rumors of Schulze's desire to take over the company have lingered since his resignation. Some analysts believe that Schulze was angry over having lost control of the board, in the wake of allegations that he failed to notify the board about the alleged inappropriate behavior of former CEO Brian Dunn.

If Schulze does want to take over completely, he will have to pay a premium above the retailer's current market capitalization near $6.5 billion. This price could be between $9 billion and $12 billion. Schulze might face difficulties raising a sum of that size.

In attempting to raise the funds, Schulze faces the possibility that financiers will be wary of his involvement after the debacle of last year. Still, 71-year-old Schulze, who was CEO for three decades, remains the company's largest shareholder with his 20% stake.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Best Buy has an enterprise value (market capitalization plus debt and minus cash) of roughly $8 billion, and the company's other shareholders may be looking for a buyout offer in the region of $11 billion before they are tempted to sell.

On Wednesday, Best Buy was trading at around $19.37, roughly flat for the day.

Follow me @BCallwood.

Posted-In: News Financing Management Best of Benzinga


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