The following are some points regarding Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) that are meant to look at the company from a slightly different perspective. The main source used was the firm's most recent 10-K filing for fiscal year 2011.
1. The founder and chairman of BBY owns about 18% of the common stock. There are three kinds of managers who own a significant stake of the common stock. The first is the kind that are realistic and willing to make changes to their firm to maximize value for shareholders, regardless of political ramifications (for example, Warren Buffett). The second kind are delusional and think that their firm is not in trouble and aren't willing to put aside their ego in order to fix the problem or are apathetic because they're making too much (for example, any executive from Bear Sterns or Lehman Bros). The third kind commit illegal actions in order to become rich and powerful (for example, any Enron executive).
2. Take a look at the most recent 10-K for fiscal year 2011. On the balance sheet, its current long-term debt is at around $0.7 billion. Under the section titled "Off-Balance-Sheet Arrangements" found on page 56, they have approximately $8.2 billion in operating lease obligations due within the next 10 years. That amount does not include an additional $2.2 billion in "payments to landlords covering real estate taxes and common area maintenance" found in the first footnote in the same section.
3. BBY is quite transparent when it comes to most of its actions. For instance, it dedicates a section in its 10-K, specifically page 92, to detailing specific investments down to the type of security and the reasons for owning them. Companies are usually not required to detail the name of the firm of the common stock they're investing in. Since its last quarter, it has sold off its equity investments.
4. The firm has had restructuring charges for the past several years. Inventory and goodwill write-downs are non-cash charges, so cash isn't directly leaving the firm.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.