Samsung Denies Best Buy Rumors; Schulze Unloads Stock
South Korea-based electronics giant Samsung on Sunday publicly diffused rumors that it may be planning to acquire a stake in Richfield-based Best Buy Company, Inc.
The rumor that Samsung was eyeing Best Buy stock appears to have picked up steam following a report by The Korea Times, which suggested that leaders from the two companies were in talks regarding “pending business issues.”
But Samsung wrote in its corporate blog that “these rumors are not true.”
“There have been no talks whatsoever regarding stock acquisition of either company,” Samsung wrote.
Best Buy routinely communicates with its vendor partners like Samsung, which announced earlier this year that it was adding Samsung “micro-stores” within Best Buy’s roughly 1,400 locations. Best Buy subsequently struck a similar partnership with Microsoft Corporation for in-store Windows shops. Analysts have since praised the micro-store model.
In unrelated Best Buy news, company leaders have been unloading some of their stock.
In an August filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Best Buy founder and Chairman Emeritus Richard Schulze disclosed his plan to sell some of his holdings as “part of his personal long-term strategy for asset diversification and liquidity.”
A recent regulatory filing indicates that, in transactions closed during the first week of October, Schulze sold more than 1.7 million shares in sales with average prices ranging from $37.59 to $37.94 per share, putting the aggregate sale price in the ballpark of $64.5 million. Previous filings indicate that Schulze sold 1.25 million shares in September. Company spokesman Jon Sandler told Twin Cities Business that Schulze is using proceeds from his stock sales to help fund his family foundation.
In early September, Best Buy President and CEO Hubert Joly exercised and sold 350,467 stock options and sold 100,686 shares—a move that reportedly netted him more than $10 million. A company spokesman told Twin Cities Business at the time that Joly needed to sell the shares to cover costs related to his divorce, adding that Joly “remains heavily invested in Best Buy.”
Vice president and treasurer Christopher Gould, Executive Vice President and General Counsel Keith Nelsen, and board director Allen Lenzmeier are among other Best Buy leaders who have recently sold shares, according to a report published by Seeking Alpha.
It’s not surprising that Best Buy insiders would be unloading shares, as the company’s stock has been on a tear this year after having plummeted in 2012. Shares of the company’s stock were trading down about 2.3 percent at $37.28, however, late Monday morning.