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Best Buy Founder Makes $8.5 Billion Bid To Take Company Private 300

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the escaping-those-annoying-shareholders dept.
zacharye writes "Best Buy founder and the company's largest shareholder Richard Schulze has offered as much as $8.5 billion to take the company private. Schulze had been rumored to be preparing a takeover offer for some time, and he recently assembled a team of executives that will run the company if his buyout offer is approved. His offer amounts to between $24 and $26 per share, a premium of as much as 47% over Best Buy's stock price at Friday's close."
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Best Buy Founder Makes $8.5 Billion Bid To Take Company Private

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  • Riiight... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:02PM (#40900573)

    Title should read "Best Buy Founder Tells World He Will Try To Find $8.5 Billion To Take Company Private"

    I doubt he gets it.

    • Re:Riiight... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sarysa (1089739) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:09PM (#40900619)
      Good point, his net worth is only $2.5bn apparently [wikipedia.org], and I'm curious as to who his backers could possibly be for a company that's been tanking lately. On the other hand, with all the cheezy, unimaginative, and downright obnoxious ploys Best Buy has implemented in the last few years, I can see where losing the stress of those "pesky shareholders" could work in the company's favor. I'd be willing to step into a Best Buy again maybe 6 months after it went private just to see if it has improved. (as it stands now, I'd rather go to a used car lot)
      • Re:Riiight... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by ganjadude (952775) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:12PM (#40900637) Homepage
        dead serious, I have a 100$ best buy card.. Ive had it for 2 years.

        today i spent over an hour in my local best buy trying to find something for under 500$ to buy and i simply could not do it. 5-8 years ago, best buy was "the place" to be for a retail store. today, I have free money and cant buy something.
        • Re:Riiight... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Sponge Bath (413667) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:13PM (#40900655)

          I have a 100$ best buy card.

          That will get you a 6' Monster brand HDMI cable, but it's not enough for the extended warranty.

          • That will get you a 6" Monster brand HDMI cable, but it's not enough for the extended warranty.

            Fixed that for you.

          • by ganjadude (952775)
            no joke, i wanted a sound card I like the old sound blaster+ i bought there around 08,payed 200 at the time. had an XLR port, 2 1/4 inch mic inputs and like 8 other inputer i dont care about. They had tablets, all in 1 PCs a section dedicated to apple. but all the hardware i used to buy, they dont offer, although they did try and convince me that "building your own is over, and its cheeper to buy an all in one" I just had to laugh (similar to the way radioshack used to have transistors but now they just hav
            • Re:Riiight... (Score:4, Interesting)

              by NFN_NLN (633283) on Monday August 06, 2012 @09:20PM (#40901091)

              ...although they did try and convince me that "building your own is over, and its cheeper to buy an all in one" ...

              If you don't care about expandability or the quality of components; then he is correct.
              I technically haven't bought a new computer since the 90's. I just keep upgrading components when the price/timing is right for me. Although, nowadays you often have to buy the MB/CPU/RAM together so it almost seems like you're buying a new computer.

              It does appear that a pre-assembled computer is cheaper, but they always include some junk I would never buy. A motherboard with no 16 lane PCIe (so you can't upgrade the video). Or an HDD where the next size up would have only cost $10 more for 50% more capacity, etc, etc. I know they're just trying to offload inventory at the lowest price point; which for 90% of people is all they care about.

              So technically a pre-assembled computer is cheaper.

              • by Kjella (173770)

                I know they're just trying to offload inventory at the lowest price point; which for 90% of people is all they care about.

                No, they're trying to offload what will sound most impressive with the cheapest possible components. Which is why for example most OEM models were consistently RAM starved, people looked at the CPU and GPU so slashing that saved some bucks. That is also why AMD and nVidia do rebrands of their graphics card so it sounds like they're from the most recent series. That said, they do have some good deals so the tech-savvy people don't shun them. They know for everyone who follows your brand, they're likely to ge

                • by Grishnakh (216268)

                  One thing that's annoying me more and more about desktop PCs is the size. With everything so integrated, and having 4+ drives no longer worth the hassle (I have 2 HDs in a RAID1 mirror), it really seems like the case sizes should have shrunk a lot. But they haven't; we still have the same giant ATX cases as we had 15 years ago, typically with 3 5.25" slots, 2 3.5" slots, 4 internal 3.5" slots, etc. Most of the space inside my case is empty and wasted.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          dead serious, I have a 100$ best buy card.. Ive had it for 2 years.

            today i spent over an hour in my local best buy trying to find something for under 500$ to buy and i simply could not do it. 5-8 years ago, best buy was "the place" to be for a retail store. today, I have free money and cant buy something.

          I went in looking for an hdmi splitter and good god they wanted 120$ for one.

          I'm buying online lol

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            I worked there in 2003. They've always been a place for big ticket items but buying any kind of accessory there was an effort in being extremely stupid. They don't make any money on computers, tvs, appliances, etc. They make all of it on extended warranties and accessories. Most people (not I didn't say smart people), research and research prices on the big ticket item (they'll spend hours to save $10) but then unknowingly spend 3x as much as they should on their accessories.

            • Re:Riiight... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by dynamo52 (890601) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:40PM (#40900855)
              I've always considered Best Buy a terrific example to illustrate the quote "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."
              • Digital Convergence [wikipedia.org] did.

              • I've always considered Best Buy a terrific example to illustrate the quote "No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public."

                It doesn't have to be about fooling anyone though. They can get quite a lot of business just through desperation... sometimes you need a cable right now, and there's Best Buy.

                The problem Best Buy has is that they are starting to stock fewer of those desperation items. I've not been there in years, even when desperate, because it became increasingly un

                • by arth1 (260657)

                  It doesn't have to be about fooling anyone though. They can get quite a lot of business just through desperation... sometimes you need a cable right now, and there's Best Buy.

                  The Radio Shack used to be like that, except that they had a reasonable markup of perhaps up to 20% over normal price. Not 200%.
                  After they lost the "The", they have gone downhill, and are now completely useless. I ran out of solder, and didn't even try to find that at Best Buy. I figured I'd stop at Radio Shack, and pay a little more than I normally do.
                  "Oh, we don't carry that, but we can order it for you." Um. Had I entered the wrong store, or been transported to a weird parallel universe?

                  It's sad to

                  • It's sad to say, but I really miss the old TRS, and even CompUSA, Tweeter and CIrcuit City

                    I totally agree, it used to be you had somewhere to go for something that would seem to be common, like soldier or some slightly different computer cable. Now it's much harder to find such store.

                  • by JDG1980 (2438906)

                    The Radio Shack used to be like that, except that they had a reasonable markup of perhaps up to 20% over normal price. Not 200%. After they lost the "The", they have gone downhill, and are now completely useless. I ran out of solder, and didn't even try to find that at Best Buy. I figured I'd stop at Radio Shack, and pay a little more than I normally do. "Oh, we don't carry that, but we can order it for you." Um. Had I entered the wrong store, or been transported to a weird parallel universe? It's sad to

                • Dead on. And personally, I think it's incredibly stupid of them to drop those "desperation" items.

                  Let's be honest here, even my less computer-savvy friends have caught on that buying online not only means you're usually getting it cheaper but also delivered, often at no extra cost. They can shop around for the best item and read user recommendations as well as the best price. And no failing brick&mortar store should call this a bad thing, transparency is one of the big corner stones that free economy re

                  • by Kjella (173770)

                    But ordering online has a mighty drawback: It takes 2-3 days to arrive. What if I need it NOW? Like that router that just failed, the headphones the cord of which my bumbling friend tripped over and broke, or the extra controller for the new console daddy forgot to order and has now two fighting kids at his hands? It can cost 50% more than it does online and people would still buy it, worse, they would buy WHATEVER item you have in stock simply because they don't have the luxury to shop around for the best one available, they need one NOW.

                    Well that's your problem, but it doesn't mean there's money in solving it. Desperation items are normally small and far between, if I'm only occasionally buying a forgotten $10 SATA cable for a $1000 machine then your market is really really small. And you must really be desperate, would you really need those headphones right now or will a pair of 0.99$ earplugs get you by until your new ones arrive? Tell the kids to share or nobody gets to play until the controller arrives. And for all that you need invent

                • Given online prices and quality (if you know the right places to shop) combined with next day delivery in many areas, it's gotten to where you need to be REALLY desperate to pay Best Buy prices for interconnect parts. When they're charging literally 10 to 20 times what it costs to buy an equivalent item online, that instant gratification thing is really costing you.

                  • Yes, I buy everything I can online.

                    But sometimes even next day is too slow. Like if I'm going over to a family members house to set up something - if I do not have what I need with me, and they live a good distance away I don't want to go back twice. Thus I am willing to pay even a 200% markup on an item just to have it, for any item less than $50...

                    The fact that I can't get a lot of the things I might need at the last moment anymore, is why I finally stopped going to Best Buy... not because the markup is

            • by v1 (525388)

              They've always been a place for big ticket items but buying any kind of accessory there was an effort in being extremely stupid. They don't make any money on computers, tvs, appliances, etc. They make all of it on extended warranties and accessories.

              That's typical of most local stores. They don't make much margin on big things, but make very good margin on little things. When something is small, a high percentage margin doesn't add many hard digits to the price. Look at a computer, maybe wholesale $1125,

              • by russotto (537200)

                An ethernet cable wholesales for $1.85, sells for $7.99, 330% margin.

                Which would be not so bad, for someone who just wants one cable now. But Best Buy won't sell it for $7.99. They'll sell it for $18.99. They've taken the strategy to an extreme and pissed off a lot of people.

                • 19 bucks for an ethernet cable? Before I buy that I risk enabling WiFi.

                  • Not kidding, $19.99 was actually what I paid for my first wireless router (wrt64gc) AT BestBuy! This was about 6-9 years ago though and you're lucky to find one under $80.
              • Re:Riiight... (Score:4, Interesting)

                by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @12:19AM (#40902017)

                But looked at a different way... the shelf space taken by a computer vs a router doesn't differ a whole lot. And that space is your resource to work with. So it's not so much that you have to get margin per item, but you have to make the retail space pay for itself. And that doesn't vary a lot between items.

                Well, then they'll have a very good story for when they go out of business.

                Plus you are giving an accountant's version of reality. One in which the customer is a mindless automaton.

                When I as a customer, go into a Best Buy and see a cable I can buy online for 4 dollars and they are selling it for 30 dollars, it pretty much pisses me off. I leave the store, and don't go back. Because for all the calculations about profit per square inch, if the customer won't return to the store, it doesn't matter how clever the accountants are.

                You see this a lot these days, in big box stores. Our Lowe's stores hardly ever has any parts for repairing things, even if they have a thousand five gallon buckets of contractor grade wall paint. I've wasted a lot of time looking for things they should have, but don't. They have a lot of overhead, and won't stock small parts that I need because some accountant figured there wasn't enough profit in that. So I just travel across town to the True Value store. And yeah, for that one purchase, True Value only makes a little bit. But then when I need something bigger, I just go to the True Value instead of the Lowe's. The price is often better too.

        • by pspahn (1175617)

          I had one of those a few years ago. I think someone got it for me for Christmas because I was "into computers or something".

          I had it for quite some time, and then somewhere along the line I realized I needed a new motherboard. I decided to check out what they had in stock and ended up getting an Asus board from them.

          It's worked well, but I would likely have been better served to sell the card and get a motherboard that wasn't an ugly step-child model, since I have been unable to upgrade the memory to the

        • Re:Riiight... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Gothmolly (148874) on Monday August 06, 2012 @09:52PM (#40901275)

          iTunes cards - basically you need BB to convert your useless currency (their gift card) into usable currency (iTunes) - which you can then give away as presents or burn through yourself.

          • by tlhIngan (30335)

            iTunes cards - basically you need BB to convert your useless currency (their gift card) into usable currency (iTunes) - which you can then give away as presents or burn through yourself.

            Just wait for sales though - iTunes cards are regularly 20% off (yes, it comes out of that 30% cut Apple takes) and you can bet while it's going on the store is still making a profit out of it (splitting the 10% leftover).

            So you can buy 2 $50 cards, and 1 $20 card and have nothing left over except christmas presents for peop

        • by JBMcB (73720)

          CDs. The one by our house has a good selection of the Rhino re-releases. Picked up a few old Elvis Costello records we didn't have or lost.

          Seriously, that's the only thing I can find to buy when I get a Best Buy gift card. The only other thing I've bought there in the last ten years is my DSLR, as they were running a pretty good sale that included a nice camera bag and lens kit. I've never seen anything else there worth buying at the prices being offered.

        • by Sir_Sri (199544)

          Depends on the sort of things you want. Bestbuy gets preferential treatment for release allocations of certain products (collectors editions of video games, peripherals that sort of thing) where if you didn't pre-order you'd be SOL anywhere else. But best buy will usually have them in stock.

          They also stuck a bunch of stuff that's about the same price as the decent online retailers, routers, generic speaker type parts, that sort of thing. Don't go into best buy expecting anyone there to have a brain, that

        • by SeaFox (739806)

          dead serious, I have a 100$ best buy card.. Ive had it for 2 years.

          Might want to double-check they're still worth $100 and Best Buy hasn't started charging you an "account maintenance fee" for not using them. I know such fees have gone horribly out of fashion with most retailers after consumer backlash to them originally, but this is Best Buy we're taking about.

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        with all the cheezy, unimaginative, and downright obnoxious ploys Best Buy has implemented in the last few years,

        How about the fact that every time I go in that store, there seem to be about 15 employees standing around the service desk bullshitting around doing nothing (and even more wandering around the store doing nothing), all while I have to stand in line forever at the ONE REGISTER that's open?

        • by NFN_NLN (633283)

          How about the fact that every time I go in that store, there seem to be about 15 employees standing around the service desk bullshitting around doing nothing (and even more wandering around the store doing nothing), all while I have to stand in line forever at the ONE REGISTER that's open?

          True story, Walmart actually beat the single open register, and I'm not joking.

          Some of the Walmarts have an automotive department (Mr. Lube). Technically the same building but it is an add-on with separate tills, entrance, etc.
          I went in on three separate occasions and there was literally no one there. Once during a weekend, once during a weekday and once on a weeknight. The other departments would touch automotive and when I called in and got transferred to automotive the phone just rang and rang.

          It was

      • Monster-brand stock, obviously. Sold in stacks of six feet.
    • He will get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:34PM (#40900803)

      Title should read "Best Buy Founder Tells World He Will Try To Find $8.5 Billion To Take Company Private"

      I doubt he gets it.

      I have no doubt that he will.

      First he's the founder and billionaire. That means he's got a "track record" among the money crowd.

      He will have a plan when he goes shopping for money.

      He's the founder who'll rescue the company.

      The money guys will be drooling over all the fees, commisions, and every other way they'll make a fortune off of this guy - and they will be right there to help him get his money.

      He will can hundreds if not thousands of people, restructure debt, and other things that will stick it up the ass of the working and middle class.

      Oh, and he'll probably will NOT have to put up much, if any, of his own money.

      Those people live in a different world than you or me. If they get into trouble with debt, the banks kiss their ass and help them to deal with it even if it hurts them. And no one calls them "irresponsible", "free loader" or any of those names. And if need be, some well placed calls to people in Congress and some really cheap taxpayer money will come their way.

      They call them "job creators". And if you think he got where he is by hard work and some risk taking, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

      Now, I'm gonna go cry myself to sleep.

  • Last rumor I heard (here), he would take a golden parachute to escape before BB crumbled.

    • Re:Surprise. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:17PM (#40900679) Homepage

      You get old enough (and rich enough) and it's not about the ROI anymore, it's about making 'em do it they way you tell 'em to.

    • I am baffled ( I do understand it ) by this behavoir, how everyone immediately hurries to buy shares in some company just because someone shared his interest in it. I do understand that it is a way to gain money but I can't help but to think of hyenas each time I see this happen.
      • Why are you baffled by this? Is I own object x, and I know that suddenly someone is interested in it for 50% more than I currently can sell it for, then the price goes up. The only reason it hasn't jumped more is because this isn't a firm bid, but simply interest. The market is factoring in how credible this interest is and what the odds are of it coming to pass. Simply markets trying to price a security in a volatile situation.

        • by geoskd (321194)

          Why are you baffled by this?

          Because as often as not, its a hoax or a scam. Those who jump skivvy to throw their money at it usually get burned: See Facebook.

          -=Geoskd

          • So, you are suggesting that the founder is engaging in a scam? I'm confused...

            • by khallow (566160)
              Someone pointed out that he could be pumping and dumping. Although that's a pretty blatant and illegal combination of insider trading and market manipulation. How does he keep the money? Probably would be better return to just sell off his share slowly and retire during the process.

              I think it's fairly straight forward. He buys out the company for a modest mark up, runs it well for a time, and then sells out for significant gain when the company is made public again.
              • As you indicate, it would really be hard to pump and dump in his position. So, I think your second assertion is the correct one.

      • by Kergan (780543)

        I am baffled ( I do understand it ) by this behavoir, how everyone immediately hurries to buy shares in some company just because someone shared his interest in it. I do understand that it is a way to gain money but I can't help but to think of hyenas each time I see this happen.

        Then again, this one has "we're looking for a few dumb fucks to actually fund this mess irrespective of the shitty economy" written all over it.

    • by BKX (5066)

      It did. By several dollars. On Friday the stock was only trading in the $18 range. Today it's been in the low 20s, closing just shy of $20. In fact, Yahoo, right on the linked page, says it's up 2.35 from Friday's close, more than 13%. I'd say that's up quite a bit.

      Oh, now I see the source of the confusion. That 24-26 range in the summary is the range that the Best Buy founder offered to pay to buy out the company, not the actual price of the stock.

    • Umm...it had its largest single-day gain since 2009. I'd call that being pushed up by the offer, wouldn't you? That it is still short of the offer isn't entirely surprising, but considering it started much lower earlier today, reaching where it did was rather significant.

  • by oakgrove (845019) on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:31PM (#40900777)

    His offer amounts to between $24 and $26 per share, a premium of as much as 47% over Best Buy's stock price at Friday's close..."

    Um, SOLD!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:38PM (#40900835)

    Everything there is at least 40% over what it costs everywhere else.

    He should have bought it through newegg or amazon, it would save him a few billion.

  • How about renting out the geek squad space to 3rd party computer places at cheap prices then renting there own store front

  • by Kwirl (877607) <kwirlkarphys@gmail.com> on Monday August 06, 2012 @08:59PM (#40900975)

    This actually is very interesting. I don't know what the plan is for this, but i do know that being beholden to shareholders has forced many companies to make business decisions that were not very prudent in the long term.

    by going private, this would allow Best Buy to alter their current strategy and become more competitive in the electronics marketplace.

    no one is going to invest 8.5 billion dollars for something like this without a solid plan. i can think of dozens of ways to improve their bottom line, and i'm sure that people more experienced than i could think of hundreds. what best buy has at the moment is a huge chain (nationwide?) of retail locations that their local demographic typically depend upon for their electronics needs. however, with amazon and probably newegg biting hard into their overhead, this might be part of a strategy to expand their online presence. this would be a move that the shareholders would never agree to, as it would involve short term loss for long term presence - but as a private entity beholden to none, they could make a mint by simply offering electronics online or 'ship to store' at competitive prices by investing in distribution and warehousing facilities

    • by phriedom (561200)
      I'm excited to see what this guy might do with the company if he doesn't have to answer to shareholders, but I disagree that his willingness to gamble $8.5 billion means anything as to the quality of the plan. Cerberus took Chrysler private and were still losing money when they sold it to Fiat. Smart people valued Zynga at $7.5 billion not too long ago and it is worth $2.23 billion today and I don't think it will stop falling soon. The fact that this guy thinks he can make it worth more than $8.5 billion
    • by nabsltd (1313397)

      however, with amazon and probably newegg biting hard into their overhead, this might be part of a strategy to expand their online presence.

      The dumbest thing Best Buy could do is expand online and compete even more with Amazon and Newegg.

      What Best Buy has is a lot of retail stores, and they need to find a way to better utilize that real estate. Hiring fewer but smarter people who don't have any sort of "commission" that controls the advice they give customers would be the best thing, because despite online reviews, sometimes you just need to talk to somebody. They also need a lot of computer programming to automate what gets stocked where, so

      • BBY is also competing with regional chains like HHGregg, BrandsmartUSA, Microcenter, Frys and others, and the warehouse clubs like Costco and Sams -which also happen to offer a narrow selection of electronics but still manage to do fine with it.

        I am not sure if BBY realizes just how aggressive ALL of these companies are on price, on actually having the items in stock and standing behind the sale.

        My family has recently replaced all the appliances in this house. We did not spend a dime at BBY. We used one

  • They should just increase operations in emerging economies, Best Buy in Mexico is doing quite well as far as I know, the Guadalajara store payed off in 1 and a half years when the expected best case scenario was 4 years.

    In the U.S. they should just decrease brick and mortar stores and move to online retailing.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday August 06, 2012 @09:32PM (#40901183)

    You know what would be a smart plan? Re-cast Best Buy as a "test the electronics" store. You charge $50/hour to rent a testing room where you can try any electronics that you like, and a means to easily order from Amazon on the spot.

    The store doesn't have to have much stock, or as many employees (since they are not moving a lot of stock around). The would of course also get affiliate commissions from Amazon for all equipment purchased.

    The difference is that it would be making money off the way people use Best Buy already...

  • Pure speculation based on past observations of other companies:
    1) get some money together
    2) get the current management on board (their help is needed to take it private).
    3) given #2, get the stock to drop more (this step is optional but I just noticed #2 can help).
    4) Offer a "premium" over the current price to get shareholders to allow the buyout.
    5) Once private, sell all company assets (real estate) to companies owned by the same private investors - dirt cheap.
    6) Lease said assets back to company on
  • So what are Best Buy's total assets for all their stores? That's a lot of prime retail space in many places, to say nothing of the huge quantity of electronics.
  • When he goes to make his purchase of BBY stock, will he do what BBY customers do and look up the item before buying?

    He's offering $26 a share. I bet Amazon has it for $12, Newegg for $13 and Monoprice for $1.87 in five colors.

    Ah the sweet irony if this could happen. Not only is BBY cornered by arguably better competitors, the competitors even sell the company itself for less.

    Yeah this works best as a joke on a late-night TV monologue.

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