Best Buy Co. Inc. CEO Hubert Joly sold company stock worth $10.4 million this month to cover the cost of a divorce, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and announced Tuesday by the company.

"This sale reflects only one thing: Mr. Joly has recently gone through a divorce and needs to sell a portion of his holdings in order to cover the costs of that unfortunate event. He remains heavily invested in Best Buy," said company spokesman Matt Furman.

Because of stock-sale restrictions that are part of Joly's employment contract, he needed and received a special waiver from a committee of the Best Buy board of directors to make the sale. The company's filing with the SEC said, "All other terms of the agreement remain unchanged and in full force and effect."

On Sept. 6, Joly sold 100,686 shares of Best Buy stock worth $3,733,436. He also exercised 350,467 stock options worth $6,655,368. Those options had an exercise price of $18.02 and Joly sold those shares at $37.01.

Joly's employment agreement with Best Buy included fully vested restricted shares to compensate him for cash awards he left behind at his previous employer, Carlson Companies, the Minnetonka-based hospitality and travel services provider where he had also been CEO.

The divorce was filed in France, Joly's native country, and no details were available.

Joly's initial grant of stock options after he became Best Buy CEO in 2012 was for 700,935 shares. Because of the divorce, he exercised and sold half of those shares. He has 350,468 options left.

When he arrived at Best Buy, he received 166,482 shares as part of his buyout award and another 332,964 restricted stock units as part of his employment agreement.

Even with the sale and exercise of options, Joly still has sufficient shares under his control to meet the company's stock ownership guidelines.

David Phelps • 612-673-7269

Patrick Kennedy • 612-673-7926