Eddie's prices are insane. Is he?
By STAFF Brian Dumaine, Alan Farnham, David Kirkpatrick, Patricia Sellers, and H. John Steinbreder

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Is it greed or plain looniness? Eddie Antar, a grammar school dropout, used the slogan ''Crazy Eddie: His prices are insane'' to expand his Brooklyn stereo shop into Crazy Eddie Inc., the most powerful consumer electronics chain in the New York metropolitan market. He went public in 1984 and realized a fortune of $68 million. Late last year when pre-Christmas sales were looking less than merry, Antar, 39, sold one-third of his holdings for about $21 million, then disappeared. The rumor on Wall Street: He was ill, perhaps fatally so. But in mid-May Antar resurfaced, linking up with the secretive Belzberg brothers of Canada to try to take his company private at $7 a share, about half the prevailing price when he sold. Houston-based Entertainment Marketing Inc., an electronics distributor, soon mounted a rival bid at $8 a share. Is this a setup? Antar shuns reporters, but one person close to him says he had a lung problem. Some analysts believe he disappeared in order to pound down the stock and make a buyback cheaper. They say he rarely plays by the rules, typically wearing a black sweatsuit to business meetings. Kiddingly, he used to force customers into deals by locking them in his store or stealing their shoes. Sugar, a 100-pound German shepherd, often came along when Antar negotiated with suppliers. Eddie's recent antics seem all the crazier because his empire, with 1986 sales of $353 million, is tottering. Several top managers, including his father and brother, left in June. Shareholder suits allege that Antar withheld material information about his company. The outlook for consumer electronics is bleak; analysts expect sales to be flat in 1987 for the first time in years. To cap it all, Antar's ex-wife Deborah, charging that she was cheated in her divorce settlement, wants the courts to dun Eddie for $200 million.