Best Buy Founder Wants His Company Back
Do you get the impression that Richard Schulze’s offer to buy back Best Buy is more than just business? That it’s personal?
Mr. Schulze, the founder and former chairman of Best Buy, left the company on bad terms after it was learned that he failed to take action after discovering an inappropriate relationship between the chain’s former CEO and a female employee of the company. On his way out, Mr. Schulze vowed he’d be back. He sent a letter to the Best Buy board yesterday signaled that he’s not kidding around. Mr. Schulze made a proposal to acquire the 80 percent of the company that he does not already own. He made an offer of between $24 and $26 a share. Best Buy’s share price jumped to $21.15 on news of the offer.
While not specific about how he intends to raise the funds for the acquisition, it is commonly believed that Mr. Schulze will bring on a number of private equity firms to complete the deal. Credit Suisse Group AG, Mr. Schulze’s financial adviser, said it was confident about obtaining financing.
"I have been actively exploring all available options for my ownership stake," Mr. Schulze said in the letter. "That exploration has reinforced my belief that bold and extensive changes are needed for Best Buy to return to market leadership and has led me to the conclusion that the company’s best chance for renewed success will be to implement these changes under a different ownership structure."
Mr. Schulze also indicated that he has held conversations with former Best Buy CEO Brad Anderson and COO Allen Lenzmeier about rejoining the company should he succeed in his offer.
According to Reuters, if Mr. Schulze acquires Best Buy, it would be "the world’s biggest leveraged buyout of the year."
While many analysts remain skeptical that the deal will happen, many also believe that Best Buy needs new leadership. Whether bringing back former leaders from the chain’s heyday will satisfy the need is the basis for debate.
- Founder Richard Schulze Proposes to Acquire Best Buy for $24 – $26/Shr – RTTNews.com/NASDAQ
- Founder offers to take troubled Best Buy private – Reuters/Yahoo! Finance
- Best Buy founder proposes $9bn buyout – Financial Times
- Best Buy bid shows leverage is back – Fortune/CNNMoney
- Best Buy Founder Offers $26 A Share To Buy Retailer – Bloomberg News
Discussion Questions: Would Best Buy benefit from going private, whether that is with Richard Schulze or someone else at the helm? Would bringing back executives from the past to run the company give Best Buy a better chance to succeed than finding someone new?