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Best Buy founder set to make bid for retail chain: report

The entrance to the Best Buy store is seen in New York, March 26, 2012.

© Shannon Stapleton / Reuters/Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Best Buy Co. Inc. founder Richard Schulze is expected to make a fully financed offer to buy the consumer electronics retailer by the end of the week, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, citing a source.

Mr. Schulze's bid would be at least $5-billion (U.S.) to $6-billion, the newspaper reported late Wednesday, citing the source.

Mr. Schulze's bid at that level would be well below his initial offer range in August, when he said could acquire Best Buy for $24 to $26 per share, or a total between $8.16-billion and $8.84-billion. Including debt, it would be as much as $10.9-billion.

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A representative for Mr. Schulze did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Best Buy declined to comment on the report.

Since August the shares have fallen, and last month Best Buy reported a decline in same-store sales for the ninth time in the last 10 quarters.

Mr. Schulze will meet with his top advisers, including Brad Anderson, a former Best Buy chief executive, and Al Lenzmeier, a former president, in Minnesota on Thursday and Friday, the Star Tribune reported.

Mr. Schulze, who founded Best Buy in 1966, has said he would fund any deal through a combination of private equity and debt financing, as well as the reinvestment of some of his own equity in the company. He is Best Buy's biggest shareholder, with 20 per cent ownership.

Last month, sources told Reuters that at least three private equity firms – Apollo Global Management LLC, TPG Capital Management LP and Leonard Green & Partners LP – were considering joining Mr. Schulze in the bid.

Best Buy's dominance has faded in recent years as consumers increasingly use its big box stores to browse and try out products, then buy them online at Amazon.com Inc or other websites.

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