The high-stakes drama pitting founder Richard Schulze against Best Buy Co. Inc. seems to be approaching a pivotal stage.
The Richfield-based consumer electronics giant is searching for an investment bank to advise it in case Schulze attempts to take Best Buy private, according to Dealreport. As for Schulze, the ex-chairman and Best Buy's largest investor is close to presenting a buyout offer to the board of directors, according to a source close to the situation. The source, though, cautioned that things remain up in the air.
None of this should surprise Best Buy. Last week, after the annual shareholders meeting, the board approved a change to its bylaws that requires an investor to hold at least 25 percent of the stock to call a special shareholders meeting to discuss such a buyout. Schulze owns about 21 percent of the company.
Experts call the move a classic takeover defense, designed specifically to impede Schulze. Impede, yes. Stop, no, for Schulze can easily arrange an informal gathering of sorts with top shareholders to hear his pitch.
Still, Schulze's greatest obstacle to a deal is not any takeover defense the company can muster but rather money. Analysts think $30 a share will get the job done, but he will more likely offer somewhere between $25 and $30.
Even at $30, Best Buy will likely reject the offer, arguing, as most companies often do, that Schulze is undervaluing the business.
From the Star Tribune's Point of Sale blog: www.startribune.com/pointofsale