Stocks to Watch: Best Buy, Groupon, Salesforce

NEW YORK -- Best Buy ( BBY), the consumer-electronics chain, ended talks with founder Richard Schulze over a deal in which he and a group of buyout firms proposed to take a minority stake in the company in exchange for three seats on the board, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

It appears Schulze won't be able to execute the buyout of Best Buy he proposed last year, the people told the newspaper. But Schulze could come back to Best Buy with another proposal, they said.

Best Buy also reports earnings Friday, and is expected by Wall Street to post quarterly profit of $1.53 a share on revenue of $16.32 billion.

Why Best Buy Should Love and Embrace

Andrew Mason has been removed as Groupon's ( GRPN) CEO, effectively immediately, and is being replaced by Executive Chairman Eric Lefkofsky and Vice Chairman Ted Leonsis in the interim.

Lefokofsky and Leonsis will be part of the newly created Office of the Chief Executive. Groupon's board will start searching for a new CEO.

Groupon reported fourth-quarter results on Wednesday that caused some to question whether Mason would continue much longer in the role.

In the release announcing Mason's departure, Groupon noted that its first-quarter outlook remains unchanged. On Wednesday, Groupon provided first-quarter guidance that was sharply below Wall Street expectations. It expects sales to be between $560 million and $610 million, a year-over-year increase of between 0% and 9%. Wall Street analysts are expecting $647.7 million.

Andrew Mason Out at Groupon ( CRM) posted a fourth-quarter adjusted profit, excluding items, of 51 cents a share, topping analysts' forecasts of adjusted earnings of 40 cents a share.

Revenue in the quarter rose 32% to $834.7 million, above estimates of $830.8 million.

The software company said it expects to post first-quarter adjusted earnings of 40 cents to 42 cents a share on revenue of between $882 million and $887 million. Analysts expect adjusted earnings of 42 cents a share on revenue of $885.9 million.

Boeing ( BA) plans to cut hundreds of workers at a South Carolina factory where it builds 787 Dreamliners, the Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the plan.

The cuts started recently and are expected to be implemented throughout 2013, the newspaper said. Staffing levels could be reduced by up to 20% -- at least for certain key teams -- at Boeing's North Charleston, S.C., campus, which Boeing said has at least 6,000 employees, the Journal said.

The job cuts aren't related to the recent batter problems that grounded the Dreamliner.

Gap ( GPS) said Thursday that fourth-quarter profit rose 61%, and the retailer raised its annual dividend to 60 cents a share from 50 cents.

Revenue rose 10% to $4.73 billion in the quarter. Same-store sales rose 5%.

Act Two of This Week's Retail Earnings

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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