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TheStreet Open House

Best Buy-Out Looms! No Exchanges, No Refunds!

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It says a lot about the depths to which a company has fallen when its biggest compliment is "At least we weren't as bad as the next guy". That's all well and good so long as the "next guy" is not hanging on for dear life.

In this case, the "next guy" is Radio Shack (RSH) and the company to which I'm referring is electronics retail giant Best Buy (BBY), a company that has now arrived at the crossroad with some serious decisions to make.

The company's founder and largest shareholder, Richard Schulze, recently offered to take the company private. I would imagine the terms of the deal ($24 to $26 per share) were considered unfavorable since it appeared Best Buy's board wasn't exactly doing cartwheels around its headquarters.

But I wonder if the bid, regardless of amount, is what the company's shareholders should favor at this juncture. It's hard enough that Best Buy is losing ground in its dinosaur big box model to others such as Wal-Mart (WMT). But can it ever overcome the biggest threat to its future, from Amazon (AMZN)?

If the company thinks it can, then it is fairly an easy decision to make. Continue on as it has and give its newly hired CEO, Hubert Joly, enough time to turn things around. But how long are investors willing to wait? It seems it would be easier to bow out gracefully by accepting Schulze's offer and look for greener pastures. "Green" is something the company may not see again for quite some time.

This was especially evident in its most recent earnings report.

Best Buy's fiscal second quarter was pretty bad. Although revenue arrived somewhat better than the worse forecast (how's that for glass-full?), sales dropped by 3% annually. Even more problematic was the 3.2% drop in comps, reminding investors there are bigger fundamental problems than initially feared.

What's more, its one-point decline in margins reflected an eroding model while its operating income dropped by 50%. The result was a significant miss with a reported 20 cents per share; analysts were expecting 33 cents.

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