Best Buy founder one step closer to $11 billion buyout, report says

Schulze and four other private equity firms are currently examining Best Buy's books in preparation of a buyout offer later this year, according to Reuters.

Best Buy founder Richard Schulze.
Best Buy founder Richard Schulze. Best Buy

Best Buy founder Richard Schulze is reportedly closer to making his plans to buy out his creation a reality.

Schulze and private equity firms are currently analyzing Best Buy's books to help them determine the right price to acquire the remaining shares in Best Buy, Reuters is reporting today, citing sources. Those same sources say that the deal could hit as much as $11 billion.

However, there is still a lot of work to be done before Schulze and his partners will even entertain making an offer. According to Reuters' sources, Schulze, who started Best Buy in 1966, has yet to secure his financing for the deal, and equity firms are trying to determine how his 20 percent ownership in the retailer will play into their decision. If the parties come together for a buyout, it likely won't happen until the middle of November, at the very earliest.

We've reached out to Best Buy for comment or confirmation on the Reuters report and will update this story when we hear back.

Schulze over the summer submitted plans to buyout Best Buy for between $24 and $26 a share , representing a 36 percent premium on its price at that time of $17.64. If Schulze succeeds in his plan, he will take the company off the stock market and make it private.

Schulze says that his plan will revitalize what is an increasingly troubled company. During its last-reported quarter, ended August 4, Best Buy saw its revenue slide to $10.5 billion from $11.3 billion during the same quarter in the prior year. It was able to post a small, $12 million profit, down considerably from the $177 million profit it generated last year.

Meanwhile, investors have run. Since the beginning of the year, Best Buy's shares are down 25 percent to $17.42 -- slightly below their price when Schulze made his move.

For its part, Best Buy has seemed somewhat willing to entertain the deal, and in August, allowed Schulze to conduct due diligence .

Schulze stepped down as Best Buy chairman earlier this year after it was discovered that he had knowledge, but didn't tell the board, of an "extremely close personal relationship" then-CEO Brian Dunn had with an employee.

Now, though, his return could be just months away. However, according to Reuters' sources, some private equity firms are questioning whether they should get involved, given Best Buy's struggles.

 

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