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Best Buy’s Talks With Its Founder Said to Have Ended

Michael J. De La Merced
Friday, 1 Mar 2013 | 2:28 AM ET
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Richard Schulze's efforts to take over Best Buy, the struggling electronics retailer he founded nearly 47 years ago, have ended.

Talks between Best Buy and a group comprising Mr. Schulze and three private equity firms have ended, people briefed on the matter told DealBook on Thursday. Discussions could resume at some point, one of these people cautioned.

By the end, Mr. Schulze and the firms — Cerberus Capital Management, Leonard Green & Partners and TPG Capital — had been negotiating to buy a bigger stake in Best Buy that would have added to his roughly 20 percent stake, these people said.

Any prospect of a full takeover of Best Buy had disappeared several weeks ago, they added, after the investor consortium discovered little appetite for the debt that would have been involved in a leveraged buyout.

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Shares in Best Buy had already fallen earlier on Thursday, after The Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported that the company's founder had moved on to trying for a minority stake in the retailer. They closed at $16.41, leading to a market value of just $5.6 billion.

By comparison, when Mr. Schulze first disclosed his potential interest in buying all of the electronics chain, a takeover offer would have been worth in excess of $8.8 billion.

Shares in Best Buy have fallen over 11 percent since word of Mr. Schulze's interest in a potential takeover first emerged last June.

Best Buy is expected to give a final update on its discussions when it reports quarterly earnings on Friday.

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