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Chaos on Best Buy takeover proposal, board names new CEO

updated 06:20 pm EDT, Mon August 20, 2012

Hubert Joly joins Best Buy, hoped to turn company around

Best Buy has decided on its new chief executive in the wake of former CEO Brian Dunn's personal conduct-related departure. The announcement of Hubert Joly as the new CEO for the troubled electronics retailer came shortly after company founder Richard Schulze was said to have rejected an offer of due diligence in his attempt to take the business back into private hands, although conflicting statements cast some doubt as to the accuracy of this sequence of events.

Joly left his position at Carlson, a travel and hospitality company that operates hotels and restaurants including TGI Friday's and Radisson, in order to take the position at Best Buy. He led the turnaround of EDS in France from 1996 to 1999, before switching to Vivendi's video gaming business and restructuring the company. His time at Carlson was spent strengthening the business, and the Best Buy board expects a similar change in fortunes under Joly's leadership.

On Friday, the board convened to evaluate Schulze's request for permission to investigate the company's internal situation, in order to give a more complete takeover offer. The board sent a proposal back to Schulze, offering access to the information for his advisers, private equity partners, and himself along with a 60-day period to construct the deal if he agreed to certain protections for Best Buy and its shareholders. A statement from the company stated he did not agree to the proposal, therefore ending the bid.

Best Buy's proposal would have required Schulze to wait until January before taking his bid directly to shareholders. Best Buy claims that Schulz left the board with "insufficient information to make a reasonable conclusion" on his bid, due in part to a failure to disclose financing and equity partners.

A statement from Schulze suggests that it was the board itself declining the offer, being "disappointed and surprised" at the abrupt termination of discussions. "We were in the process of negotiating an acceptable standstill period when, without notice to me or to any of my advisors, the board issued its announcement,"he said, "I remain hopeful that the Board will engage in good faith discussions." [via Bloomberg]

By Electronista Staff
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