Best Buy's Founder to Offload Shares

Zacks Equity Research
27 August 2013

Richard Schulze, the founder and major shareholder of consumer electronics retailer Best Buy Co., Inc. (BBY) plans to offload part of his shares as per the company’s regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the filing, the sale will occur in a pre-arranged manner over a six-month period commencing from Oct 1, 2013. Shares will be divested in the open market at the prevalent market prices.

Schulze holds about 20% stake in Best Buy, which is nearly 70 million shares. However, the number of shares to be sold has not been disclosed yet.  

In the past, Schulze had tried to take over Best Buy in a private buyout deal. However, the deal did not materialize. Later, he became the company’s chairman emeritus (an honorary designation) and appointed two people to the board of directors.

So far, Best Buy has amassed a whopping year-to-date return of nearly 207.4%. Moreover, the stock performance has been bolstered by impressive quarterly results. Best Buy posted second-quarter fiscal 2014 earnings per share of 32 cents that surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and rose 23.1% from the prior-year quarter.

At present, Best Buy is executing a turnaround program that includes a price match policy, a multi-channel strategy, a multi-year cost reduction program and the closing of certain big box stores. In the said quarter, Best Buy succeeded in lowering its costs by $65 million, thereby bringing the total reduction to $390 million out of $725 million targeted from the North American business.

Moreover, the company is leaving no stone unturned in wooing consumers and garnering incremental revenues, as is evident from its strategic initiative of opening "Samsung Experience Shops" within its stores. Taking its initiatives forward, Best Buy entered into a partnership with Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) to open “Windows Store” across its 500 outlets in the U.S. and additional 100 outlets in Canada.

Best Buy also completed the divestment of its 50% stake in Best Buy Europe to Carphone Warehouse Group, the joint venture partner in the same. The move will help this consumer electronic retailer to concentrate more on its U.S. operations, which has been facing stiff competition from industry bellwethers such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) and Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN).

Currently, Best Buy caries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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