Best Buy Co Inc (BBY) founder Richard Schulze is expected to make a fully financed offer to buy the consumer electronics retailer by a mid-December deadline, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported, citing a source.
Schulze's bid would be at least $5 billion to $6 billion, the newspaper reported late Wednesday, citing the source.
Best Buy shares jumped 14.5 percent to $13.94 in early trading. At that price, the retailer has a market value of $4.71 billion.
Schulze's bid at that level would be well below his initial offer range in August, when he said could acquire Best Buy for $24 to $26 per share, or a total between $8.16 billion and $8.84 billion. Including debt, it would be as much as $10.9 billion.
The size of such a deal, combined with Best Buy's weak performance in the last two years, has made many on Wall Street doubt it could get done.
"There was skepticism in the market that he could get financing for the deal," Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy said, and with better odds that a deal will get done, the share price has increased.
Still, he wasn't sure that Best Buy's board or investors would go for such an offer, which would come to about $15-$18 a share.
A representative for Schulze did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Best Buy declined to comment on the report.
Since August the shares have fallen, and last month Best Buy reported a decline in same-store sales for the ninth time in the last 10 quarters.
Schulze will meet with his top advisers, including Brad Anderson, a former Best Buy chief executive, and Al Lenzmeier, a former president, in Minnesota on Thursday and Friday, the Star Tribune reported.
Schulze, who founded Best Buy in 1966, has said he would fund any deal through a combination of private equity and debt financing, as well as the reinvestment of some of his own equity in the company. He is Best Buy's biggest shareholder, with 20 percent ownership.
Last month, sources told Reuters that at least three private equity firms - Apollo Global Management LLC <APO.N>, TPG Capital Management LP <TPG.UL> and Leonard Green & Partners LP - were considering joining Schulze in the bid.
Best Buy's dominance has faded in recent years as consumers increasingly use its big box stores to browse and try out products, then buy them online at Amazon.com Inc <AMZN.O> or other websites.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba and Dhanya Skariachan; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)