Best Buy said Monday it has agreed to open its books to its founder and former chairman Richard Schulze, allowing him to potentially set up a deal to take the struggling electronics retailer private in a deal worth some $8 billion.
Schulze — Best Buy’s largest shareholder, controlling 20.1 percent of the company’s shares — is offering to buy all the outstanding shares of Best Buy (BBY) he does not already own for $24 to $26 per share in cash.
He has sought the board’s permission to conduct due diligence on the company and put together a consortium that includes other executives and private-equity investors to make an offer for the retailer.
Now that permission has been granted, Schulze has 60 days after starting due diligence to propose a fully financed bid for the company. He also gets two board seats to represent his stake.
Best Buy has struggled in recent quarters as customers have migrated to Apple and online retailers such as Amazon.com.
In a statement earlier this month Schulze said “immediate and substantial changes are needed” for Best Buy to “return to its market-leading ways.”
Schulze stepped down from the company earlier this year after an internal probe found he failed to tell the retailer’s board about allegations that former chief executive Brian Dunn was having an inappropriate relationship with a 29-year-old female subordinate.
Dunn, who resigned in April, “violated company policy by engaging in an extremely close personal relationship with a female employee that negatively impacted the work environment,” according to an internal investigation by the retailer’s audit committee.