Best Buy Board to Schulze: You Show Us Yours Before We Show You Ours

Best Buy Founder Dick SchulzeReuters is reporting that the Best Buy board of directors has asked founder and former chairman Richard Schulze to name the private equity (PE) firms that he can line up to help him buy out Best Buy stock and take the company private. But reportedly Schulze is playing coy, saying only that there’s a “number of leading private equity firms” prepared to make a significant commitment.

In an email to Reuters, the board said, in effect, it will take its time to study the proposal… Continue reading

After Climbing for 4 Months, Single-Family Housing Starts Drop in July

Housing Starts GraphicNew residential construction data from the Commerce Department released today showed that single-family housing starts dropped in July to 502,000 units or 6.5% below June’s revised rate of 537,000 units. And while this figure is still a solid 17% over July 2011’s rate of 429,000 units – it was a bit of a disappointment as single-family starts have increased for the last four months in a row, leading some to conclude that the housing market was on a rebound.

But other housing data suggests the  bumpy road for housing continues… Continue reading

Nortek Financial Results Show That, Despite Best Efforts, TECH Remains Troubled

Nortek's HeadquartersAt the end of last week, Nortek, Inc. reported their financial results for the fiscal second quarter and first half. While at first blush the overall numbers look good – sales up 9% in Q2 and 8% in 1st Half and returning to profitability for both periods – digging deeper shows that their technology business unit (TECH) and residential ventilation business unit (RESV) are not yet participating in the company’s turnaround. Given the significant amount of restructuring of their TECH segment, this result is troubling. Continue reading

Former Retail Shining Star Vann’s Declares Bankruptcy

Vann's LogoBased in Missoula, Montana, Vann’s Inc. has been a shining star of the retail business – for years a hearty player in a rugged part of the country where only the strong survive. Founded in 1961 by Pete Vann, the company has steadily grown over the years – adding locations, diversifying retail formats, and even expanding into online sales. But signs of stress began to emerge this year with the company closing one location in February, then replacing long-time CEO George Manlove in June with a CEO from outside the company, losing the support of a key lender in July, and finally declaring bankruptcy just a little over one week ago.

How did this all happen?…. Continue reading

3vNet Picks Fielder Marketing as Rep for Northern California & Nevada

Photo of Mark Fielder, Fielder Marketing

Mark Fielder

3vNet announced today that as part of the continuing growth trajectory for the reborn brand, it has selected Fielder Marketing as its sales representative for Northern California and Northern Nevada. Fielder Marketing, based in Reno, Nevada, was founded by Mark Fielder and represents several high quality specialty A/V brands.

See more details here… Continue reading

After Surprising Analysts with Initial Downgraded 2012 TV Sales Forecast, Sony & Sharp Stun Again with Deeper Cuts

Sony_2012CES_6The Nikkei Reported today that both Sony Corp. and Sharp Corp. have further reduced their original  forecast for fiscal year 2012 flat-panel HDTV sales in the wake of a worldwide slowdown in demand. The move surprised analysts, as both companies had forecast weaker demand as part of their initial 2012 forecast. But, as we’ve been reporting for months, sales of flat-panel TVs in Japan’s domestic market have fallen off a cliff as previous government rebate programs meant to encourage consumers to switch to a new digital TV system, as well as to more energy-efficient TVs and appliances, came to an end. Now, manufacturers are experiencing slack demand around the world, including a slowdown in the market they had been counting on to provide substantial growth – China. Continue reading

3vNet Announces New CB1 Lighting & Control Module and Open Sales Territories

3vNet Logo3vNet, the new home automation company that succeeded Colorado vNet, announced last week one of the first products to be produced by the new company – then CB1 Control Bridge. The company has also let strata-GEE.com know which sales territories they have open and in which they are interested in finding good sales representative firms with whom to work. Continue reading

Gibson Guitar Admits It Broke the Law; Settles with DOJ to Avoid Criminal Prosecution

500px-Gibson_logo.svgGibson Guitar Corp., a manufacturer of musical instruments and significant shareholder in Onkyo Corp. and majority owner of Onkyo USA, has entered into a “Criminal Enforcement Agreement” with the U.S. Department of Justice settling matters and circumstances surrounding government allegations of their illegal purchase and importation of woods and materials protected by environmental regulations and laws. As part of their settlement, Gibson admits the government’s allegations are true, agrees to pay a penalty of $300,000, agrees to an additional “community service” payment of $50,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, implements a strict compliance program (approved by DOJ enforcers) to prevent future violations, and relinquishes claim to more than $260,000 worth of government-seized illegally imported materials. Continue reading

Did AudioXpert’s Launch Succeed in ‘Exceeding Expectations’ as Their Tag Line Promises?

Photo of Eli Harary, President of AudioXperts at Press Conference

Eli Harary, President
AudioXperts

Last month, we reported on the pre-launch of a new brand…the rather boldly named AudioXperts – founded by well-known industry veteran, Eli Harary and the team of sales, marketing, engineering, and product specialists he assembled. This pre-launch announcement was then followed-up by an official launch at a press event in Manhattan on Tuesday of this week. For a lot of reasons, this was a notable event – not the least of which is that there are very few new companies launching in the current incredibly difficult industry environment. But this “birth of a brand” also – for a number of reasons – set a very high bar for expectations related to its launch, which drew a substantial press contingent.

Did AudioXperts live up to their “exceeding expectations” tag line?… Continue reading

Best Buy Founder Schulze Rounds Up the Old Gang for One Last Try

Graphic of Best Buy CowboysBloomberg News reported on Monday that the Best Buy Co. board of directors has received a letter with an offer from company founder and former chairman Richard Schulze to acquire all outstanding shares of the company stock and take it private. Schulze is said to have the support of at least two private equity companies and an investment bank that is confident it can arrange adequate financing. Schulze also says several former Best Buy executives are interested in joining him in the process of reinvigorating the company.

Analysts are skeptical… Continue reading