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Best Buy Earnings: You Break It, You Best Buy It

Stocks in this article: BBY CS AMZN CLX

Meanwhile, investors are suffering as Best Buy drifts without direction amid an onslaught of competition from online electronics retailers like Amazon (AMZN) and as more popular destinations like Apple (AAPL) stores cut at its viability. Overall revenue of $10.5 billion and adjusted EPS of 20 cents in the second quarter missed analyst estimates polled by Bloomberg of $10.6 billion and 31 cents, respectively.

Best Buy profit tanked by 90% compared with the year-ago quarter, while same store sales were down 3.2% -- 1.6% in the U.S. and 8.2% internationally, continuing a multi-year declining sales trend across the chain's locations.

Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Baker highlighted promotions that cut into gross margins, as competition weighed on profits. "The decline was due to a mix toward smart phones as well as promotional activity as Best Buy tries to keep pace with Amazon pricing," wrote Baker in a note to clients.

Greater-than-expected overall and comparable store sales declines were driven by underperformance in gaming, digital imaging, televisions and notebooks, according to KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst Bradley Thomas. Regarding growth areas like e-commerce and international markets like China, Baker and Thomas both noted weaker-than-expected performance.

Initially, Schulze's buyout offer was viewed skeptically by analysts because of vague language surrounding the billions in debt financing and private equity co-investment that the company's founder would likely need to take Best Buy private.

Analysts also questioned why Schulze, who owns over 20% of Best Buy shares, wasn't willing to throw his entire equity holding in the company into a takeover effort -- the $1 billion in equity that Schulze said he was willing to put into the deal compares with estimates of a $1.7 billion value for his Best Buy stake earlier in August.

After carrying around a financing letter from Credit Suisse (CS) and the purported interest of unnamed private equity investors, Schulze's Aug. 6 bid resembled a Carl Icahn-like takeover choreography.

However, Icahn, a famed activist investor, either puts his chips all-in on takeover efforts or folds. In the case of Clorox (CLX), a similar sized takeover proposal to Best Buy, Icahn put in a tender offer to buy the company and nominated a hostile slate of directors to the cleaning products giant's board. Shareholders rejected Icahn's board nominees and halted his takeover effort, and the failed bid is instructive as Best Buy shareholders are caught between an increasingly uncertain management turnaround effort and murky private buyout offer.

Now, the sparring period between Best Buy and Schulze needs to come to an Icahn-like head. For shareholders, it would be best if Best Buy allowed Schulze to conduct due diligence and waive Minnesota laws on forming a private equity consortium, and it also should allow proposals to go to shareholders before 2013.

In Schulze's case, he still needs to submit a valid offer for shareholders to even consider.

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