Best Buy Faces Class-Action Securities Suit

A San Diego law firm filed the suit on Friday, which claims Best Buy made false and misleading statements about its financial position, causing investors to lose money when the company's stock plummeted.

Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc., faces a securities lawsuit that is seeking class-action status based on claims that the company's misleading and false statements about its financial position caused investors to lose money.

The suit was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Minnesota by San Diego law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, LLP-which specializes in investor class-action suits and securities fraud-on behalf of a group of investors.

According to the suit, Best Buy made several false and misleading statements in regards to its fiscal 2011 sales and earnings in press releases and during conference calls for investors and analysts. The misleading statements allegedly caused investors who purchased stock between September 14, 2010, and December 13, 2010, to lose money.

In March 2010, Best Buy reported its 2010 fiscal year results and issued its fiscal 2011 outlook of $53 billion in revenue and earnings per share of between $3.45 and $3.60.

In June, the suit says, the company's fiscal 2011 first-quarter results missed analyst expectations for both revenue and earnings. Despite missing expectations, the company reiterated its previous fiscal 2011 outlook and also rejected analysts' concerns that demand for its products during the remainder of the year might not be strong enough to make up for the first-quarter shortfall.

According to the complaint, Best Buy reported its second-quarter results in September, again reporting declines. Despite the declines, the company increased its fiscal 2011 earnings outlook to between $3.55 per share and $3.70 per share.

Then, in December, the company reported its third-quarter financial results, which missed expectations by a wide margin, prompting the company to slash its fiscal 2011 earnings outlook to $3.20 per share to $3.40 per share-below its original outlook that was set in March, according to the suit.

Following the third-quarter news, there was an “immediate and massive sell off” of the company's shares on December 14, resulting in a stock price decline of up to 22 percent from what investors paid for the stock between September 14 and December 13.

The complaint alleges that Best Buy knew or “deliberately disregarded” facts that indicated it would not be able to support its aggressive fiscal 2011 outlook, yet the company continued to mislead investors into believing that it would succeed in meeting expectations.

The suit is looking to get class-action status and is seeking to recover damages on behalf of those who purchased Best Buy's common stock between September 14 and December 13.

A Tuesday morning phone call to a Best Buy representative was not immediately returned.

Best Buy is the state's third-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $49.7 billion for its fiscal year that ended in February 2010.