NEW YORK — Best Buy Co. Inc. and its founder and former chairman, Richard Schulze, say they have an agreement that will allow Schulze to pursue his plan to try to buy the nation’s largest consumer electronics chain.

The news sent Best Buy shares up 3.2 percent to close at $17.87 Monday.

Best Buy said the agreement will allow Schulze to get access to confidential financial statements and allow him to form an investment group with private-equity sponsors to make the bid. He already owns 20 percent of the company’s stock.

The agreement is the first step toward Schulze making an official bid for the company, as Best Buy tries to turn around results and adjust to a new CEO. Earlier this month, Schulze suggested he could pay $24 to $26 per share for the chain. Best Buy had said it was considering the overture.

The retailer says the agreement establishes a non-exclusive orderly process for a bid while protecting the interests of all shareholders. Schulze says the agreement will allow him to examine the company’s books in detail.

Under the agreement disclosed Monday, Schulze and his potential partners will then have 60 days to present a fully financed proposal.

“(Schulze) had a zero probability of raising equity without due diligence, and now that zero is up to a 15 or 20 percent chance,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. “Private-equity firms want to understand their investment and return, and in order to understand that you have to be able to look at the books.”

If Best Buy’s board rejects Schulze’s proposal, they will have until January 2013 to present a second proposal. Best Buy’s board would have 30 days to review the second proposal before Schulze can take the offer directly to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting or a special meeting.

If the second offer is turned down by both the board and Best Buy’s shareholders, he would have to wait one year before offering another proposal.