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Best Buy says Schulze declined due diligence deal

Sun Aug 19, 2012 10:02pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Best Buy Co Inc said founder Richard Schulze, who has expressed an interest in taking the consumer electronics chain private, has turned down an offer from the company’s board to conduct due diligence.

Best Buy said its board convened on Friday, August 17, and authorized its advisors to start talks with Schulze on a cooperation agreement that would give him access to some of the company’s books.

It said the board’s proposal would have also given Schulze a waiver of Minnesota law so that he could develop a definitive proposal for the company with his private equity partners.

The company said it asked Schulze to agree to “certain protections for Best Buy and its shareholders, with the goal of limiting outside distractions,” in exchange for opening its books.

Schulze, the 71-year-old former chairman of Best Buy, has expressed an interest in teaming up with undisclosed private equity partners to buy the struggling retailer for $8.16 billion to $8.84 billion, or $24 to $26 a share. The company has called Schulze’s proposal “highly conditional.”

(Reporting by Michael Erman; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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