MINNEAPOLIS — Best Buy founder and former chairman Richard Schulze on Monday offered to buy the struggling retailer and take it private for as much as $8.8 billion. Schulze said he would offer Best Buy shareholders between $24 and $26 for each of their shares in the chain, according to a letter sent to the board that he made public.
“There is no question that now is the moment of truth for Best Buy and that immediate and substantial changes are needed for the company to return to its market-leading ways," Schulze said in a statement. "I am deeply concerned that further delay and indecision will cause additional loss of both value and talented leaders who are now uncertain of the company's future."
Schulze is Best Buy largest’s stakeholder, with a 20.1% stake . He said he wants to pay between $24 and $26 per share for Best Buy, which represents a 36% to 47% premium over the company's Friday closing stock price. Based on Best Buy's 339.9 million outstanding shares, the offer values the company at $8.16 billion to $8.84 billion, according to the New York Times.
In his letter to Best Buy's board, Schulze said he has developed a plan to deal with the company's challenges and has talked with private equity firms. He said he would finance the deal through a combination of private equity investments, about $1 billion of his own equity and debt. Schulze has held talks with past executives who are interested in rejoining the company, including former CEO Brad Anderson and former COO Allen Lenzmeier, according to various reports.
Schultz resigned as chairman of Best Buy in June amid a scandal involving CEO Brian Dunn, who left amid allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a female employee. A board investigation found that Schulze knew about the relationship and failed to alert the board or human resources.