Morning Coffee Aug 07 2012

Best Buy Founder Makes Takeover Bid

By Beecher Tuttle

Just a month after stepping down as chairman, Best Buy founder Richard Schulze has made an official bid to take the electronics retailer private. Backed by "premier private-equity firms," Schulze is offering $24 to $26 a share to acquire roughly 80% of company shares that he doesn't already own.

The deal, which would value the company at as much as $8.8 billion, would represent the largest-ever buyout of an American retailer, according to the New York Times. If Best Buy's board approves the deal, shareholders can expect to receive as much as a 47% premium on Friday's closing price.

Schulze has been adamant that significant changes need to be made for Best Buy to return the level of success it enjoyed a decade ago. The electronics retailer has suffered from competition from Web retailers, which are able to undercut Best Buy on price, and been forced to make substantial cuts to its workforce.

Most recently, Best Buy let go roughly 600 members of its Geek Squad, a nationwide group of service employees who were once the retailer's biggest differentiator. The chain has also closed many of its big-box store locations, replacing them with smaller stores with fewer overhead costs.

In his letter, Schulze stressed that any delay in the board's decision will cause "additional loss of both value and talented leaders who are now uncertain of the company's future."

Sales Buzz

Amazon to Bulk up Staff (The Sacramento Bee)

Amazon is expected to hire nearly 1,000 full-time, permanent employees plus an additional 5,000 seasonal workers as the company expands its northern Kentucky facility.

Verizon Retailer Hiring (San Antonio Business Journal)

Verizon Wireless retailer Cellular Sales is looking to hire roughly 40 salespeople across its 15 retail stores in the San Antonio area.

Turner Buys Bleacher Report (TechCrunch)

Turner Broadcasting has agreed to acquire sports blog network Bleacher Report for between $175 million and $200 million.

Marketing Buzz

Publicis Denies Acquisition Rumor (AP via Bloomberg)

French ad giant Publicis Groupe has vehemently denied a Financial Times report suggesting the firm is in advanced talks to purchase rival Interpublic Group.

Bud Light Replaces McGarryBowen (Ad Age)

Bud Light has cut ties with lead agency McGarryBowen after only eight months. Rival firm Translation Advertising, the agency responsible for several recent and successful Anheuser-Busch InBev spots, has been named the new lead firm.

African Americans More Brand Loyal (Adweek)

African Americans consumers are more loyal to specific television channels and digital properties than are Caucasian Americans, according to a new study. Brands that are more favored among blacks include General Motors, Slim Fast, Tide, Fidelity, Ragu and Wal-Mart.

Digital is Cheaper (Ad Age)

Hourly billing rates for top executives at digital agencies in New York are roughly half those charged by traditional Madison Avenue creatives.

Buzz Around the Office

Thirst for Gold (Yahoo Sports)

Olympic gold medalists who want to quench their thirst can head over to a trendy London nightclub for a special drink on the house. The cocktail costs $3,117.48 for you and me.

List of the Day: Getting a Raise

Before you ask for one, make sure to check these off.

1. You've been there for more than a year.

2. The company's not in major transition mode.

3. You're exceeding expectations, not just meeting them.

(Source: The Daily Muse)

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