According to a report by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Best Buy Co. founder Richard Schulze might be considering a bid to take the electronics retailer private. Schulze resigned as chairman and director of the Richfield, Minn., company earlier this month.
The WSJ notes that Schulze prefers to take the company private, although the process of seeking potential buyout partners is still in the early stages. As well, it is still possible that he could decide to sell his stock.
Schulze founded the company in 1966 and is its largest shareholder, with just over 20% stake. According to data service FactSet.Best Buy, he has a market value of US$1.4 billion.
The report indicates that a buyout offer would likely need to reach US$11 billion, in order to attract other shareholders to sell.
David Strasser, a Janney Montgomery Scott analyst, notes that a buyout of Best Buy would likely require between US$3-$4 billion in equity and the remainder financed with debt. This would mean Schulze, who currently has US$4 billion in equity would need to raise another US$2.6 billion or more from other investors.
Best Buy says its sales have continued to decline. In 2011, the company was down 1.7% and 1.8% in 2012. The company had about 1,100 U.S. retail stores at the end of 2011, but says it has plans to close 50 stores in 2012.
The WSJ adds that with the "recent slide in sales and profits," it is still unclear if private-equity firms would be interested in the company.