Best Buy shares fall on Schulze bid news

NEW YORK (AP) -- Best Buy shares fell on Friday after the struggling electronics retailer said it extended the window for co-founder Richard Schulze to make a buyout bid until after the holiday season.

Shares fell $2.24, or 15.8 percent, to $11.88 in morning trading Friday.

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That erased most of the gains made Thursday when Best Buy shares jumped 16 percent on a report in the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Schulze would make a bid by the end of the week. The report cited unidentified sources.

But on Friday, Best Buy said Schulze can make his offer between Feb. 1, 2013 and Feb. 28, 2013.

The Minneapolis company said the extension is in the best interest of shareholders and gives Schulze and his investor partners time to review Best Buy's full-year financial results. Morningstar retail analyst R.J. Hottovy says it can be difficult to line up financing for a deal for a major retailer. But he suspects that in this case, there's a lot of concern about Best Buy's long-term prospects.

"We think the private equity suitors that Richard Schulze has been in contact with, they're coming to the realization that a turnaround for this company is still very much a challenge and it faces an uphill battle to remain competitive," said Hottovy.

Best Buy Co. has been struggling to maintain market share in the face of tough competition from discounters and online retailers. In its most recent third quarter, it recorded a loss due to restructuring charges and continued weak sales. Richard Schulze, 71, founded the company in 1966 and is its largest shareholder by far with a 20 percent stake. He has been considering a bid or selling his stake since resigning in June, following an investigation that led to the resignation of CEO Brian Dunn due to an inappropriate relationship with a female staffer.

MPR's Martin Moylan contributed to this report

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