Richard Schulze Sheds More Of His Best Buy Holdings

Stock sales by Best Buy’s founder and his family foundation top $200 million since September.

Richard Schulze, the founder and largest shareholder of Best Buy Company Inc., is continuing to unload stock in the rebounding retailer.

In a batch of sales between November 1 and 5, Schulze sold off about 1.7 million shares of Best Buy stock for approximately $73.8 million, according to a Yahoo! Finance report, which cites data from Thomson Financial. (Information about the sales was not yet available on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website as of Tuesday.)

According to regulatory filings and market data on insider sales, Schulze and the Minneapolis-based Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation have now sold more than $200 million in Best Buy stock since the beginning of September. Schulze is currently chairman emeritus of the Richfield-based, Fortune 500 electronics retailer.

Schulze’s plan to start selling Best Buy stock was disclosed in an August 26 filing with the SEC. The filing detailed “pre-arranged trading plans” adopted by Schulze, saying the transactions are part of his “personal long-term strategy for asset diversification and liquidity.” Regulatory filings indicated he would sell shares between October 2013 and March 2014.

“Shares will be sold under the plan in the open market at prevailing market prices, subject to minimum price thresholds. Mr. Schulze will have no control over the timing of the stock sales under the Plan,” according to the SEC filing.

Following previous disclosures of Schulze’s stock sales, a Best Buy representative told Twin Cities Business that Schulze is using proceeds to help fund his family foundation.

An October SEC filing detailed numerous recent stock sales by Schulze.

• Between September 6 and 10, Schulze sold 1.25 million shares on the open market for approximately $46.6 million. Those sales were separate from the pre-arranged trading plan.

• In a series of sales under the pre-arranged trading plan between October 1 and 3, Schulze sold about 1.7 million shares for approximately $64.5 million.

• In another sale, the Minneapolis-based Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation sold 450,000 shares on the open market on October 23 for approximately $19.2 million.

Amid a tumultuous time for Best Buy last year, Schulze resigned from the Best Buy board and touted a plan for a buyout offer to take the company private and regain control of the company he founded in 1966. Schulze ultimately failed to assemble the financing to make an offer by a deadline at the end of February, but rejoined the board as chairman emeritus in March.

Best Buy’s most recent proxy filing indicates that as of February 2, 2013, Schulze owned more than 66 million shares accounting for a 19.6 percent stake in the company.

The value of Schulze’s holdings has skyrocketed this year. At the end of 2012, Best Buy stock closed at $11.85 per share. At the end of trading on Monday, Best Buy closed at $44.33 per share as the stock price has more than tripled this year.

In part, Schulze’s stock sales will boost the work of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, which has largely focused on grants to support medical research. In June, Schulze announced plans to expand the resources for the foundation and announced the appointment of Mark Dienhart as the foundation’s president and CEO.