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Best Buy extends bid deadline

by Lou Whiteman  |  Published December 14, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Best-Buy-Carphone-reconfigure-alliance227.jpgBest Buy Co. agreed Friday, Dec. 14, to extend the deadline for Richard Schulze to make a bid for the company, giving the founder a chance to examine Christmas sales and year-end financials before making an offer.

Richfield, Minn.-based Best Buy in late August opened its books to Schulze, signing an agreement that allowed its former CEO to form an investment group with private equity firms and conduct due diligence on the electronics retail giant.

The agreement included a waiver of a Minnesota anti-takeover statute that requires board approval for a bidder to form a group of investors, but gave Schulze a deadline to submit a fully financed buyout proposal.

The company said Friday that it has mutually agreed with Schulze to extend the deadline, allowing the executive to submit a proposal to its board by Feb. 28, 2013. The board would have 30 days to review and take a position on any offer.

Best Buy said that the extension allows Schulze access to its most recent data when weighing an offer.

"Both parties believe that allowing Mr. Schulze to bring his offer after the holiday season and fiscal year end is in the best interests of shareholders and provides Mr. Schulze and his potential partners with an opportunity to include the company's full-year results as part of their due diligence review," the company said.

Schulze in June resigned as chairman and director to explore options for his 20.1% stake in Best Buy, and in August said he was willing to pay $24 to $26 apiece for the shares he didn't already own in a deal that valued the struggling retailer at $8.8 billion.

The extension also allows Schulze more time to line up capital to support a potential bid.

Some analysts have been skeptical that the executive would be able to attract significant financial support for an offer, but his financial adviser, Credit Suisse Group, has said it is "highly confident" it can arrange the necessary debt financing.

Tags: Best Buy Co. | due diligence | private equity | Richard Schulze

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