AuthorTopic: Official Death of Retail Thread: Life Without Walmart  (Read 23319 times)

Offline RE

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Re: Official Death of Retail Thread: Life Without Walmart
« Reply #210 on: October 15, 2018, 09:57:12 AM »
Lampert, who is also the company’s largest shareholder and lender, is hoping the deal, combined with a program of divestments, will give Sears a fighting chance to escape liquidation ahead of the key holiday shopping season, the sources said. Big banks, including Bank of America Corp, Wells Fargo & Co and Citigroup Inc, are expected to provide significant portions of the financing, the sources added.

I don't understand why ANY of these entities would pony up additional FRNs for Fast Eddie's looting scheme. Unless they get a taste.
There's no dealing like self-dealing.

Because they hold shares.  They don't want to lose the equity value, so they float more loans to keep the Zombie going.  It's the essence of "Too Big to Fail".


Offline RE

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🏬 Even More Stores To Close - Sears Bankruptcy Update
« Reply #211 on: October 30, 2018, 03:33:19 AM »

Even More Stores To Close - Sears Bankruptcy Update
Oct. 29, 2018 3:40 PM ET

About: Sears Holdings Corporation (SHLDQ), Includes: WHR

WYCO Researcher
Special situations, research analyst, value, long/short equity

A large number of additional store closings could be announced by November 1 in the second round of closings.

More vendors are demanding reclamation of their goods-including Whirlpool.

I attended the lastest hearing in White Plains.

The lawyer for Sears asserted in court that their liquidity is currently better than expected.

More Sears and Kmart store closings could be announced by November 1 as part of the “Secondary Store Rationalization”, which could also mean additional store leases will be rejected by Sears Holdings (OTCPK:SHLDQ). More vendors, including a filing by Whirlpool (WHR) (docket 326), for the reclamation of their goods. I attended the October 25 hearing in White Plains and provide some details below.
Second Round of Store Closings

According to the DIP loan agreement (docket 7 page 33 of 307), Sears has developed a “Go Forward Plan” that includes plans to close stores under the “Initial Store Rationalization” and close additional stores under a second round. (Secondary Store Rationalization). When Sears filed for bankruptcy they announced 142 stores would close. As the DIP agreement states:

    “No later than November 1, 2018, the Debtors will file a notice, pursuant to the GOB Procedures, to commence a second round of store rationalizations in accordance with the Store Footprint Plan.”

It goes on to state, they “will file a motion no later than November 20, 2018 and will obtain an order from the Bankruptcy Court no later than December 15, 2018 authorizing the rejection of any leases associated with stores included in the Secondary Store Rationalization.”

I was expecting Judge Drain would ask about the second round store closings at the October 25 hearing, but there was no discussion about this in open court. I was hoping to get some indication about the number of additional closings-if any. There were 687 stores at the time of the filing and CFO, Mr. Reicker, stated (docket 3) that 400 stores were EBITDA positive. That could seem to indicate that about 145 or more stores could close in the second round. (687-142=545; 545-400=145).

Offline RE

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Big Surprise here.  ::) Moar great Capitalism at work...


Sears boss Eddie Lampert accused of possibly profiting from retailer's decline
Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY Published 1:20 p.m. ET Nov. 6, 2018 | Updated 3:50 p.m. ET Nov. 6, 2018

Sears, once America's most famous retailer, continues to fail
Customers enter and leave the Sears store in St. Eustache, Quebec. July 21, 2017. Ryan Remiorz, The Canadian Press VIA AP

(Photo: Sears Holdings)

Sears Holdings chairman and investor Eddie Lampert may have profited from the company's plunge into bankruptcy, a group of creditors alleged Tuesday.

A committee organized to represent the retailer's unsecured creditors in court accused Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments of potentially structuring deals to gain an unfair edge as the company declined.

They "may have exercised undue influence to siphon value away from the Company on favorable terms," the creditors group said in a court filing.

The group also said Lampert may have leveraged his "insider status to obtain an ever-increasing percentage" of Sears debt, allowing him to "obtain beneficial positions" in the retailer's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

USA TODAY reported in June that Sears was giving Lampert and his funds about $200 million to $225 million per year in debt payments.

Sears representatives declined to comment.

Lampert's ESL said in a statement that the hedge fund "has consistently supported Sears Holdings in its efforts to transform and return to profitability during a period of rapid change and disruption in the retail industry."
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"We have every confidence that all transactions involving ESL and Eddie Lampert are valid and enforceable, based on fair and reasonable terms, which were approved by independent directors who were advised by independent financial and legal advisors and featured other appropriate corporate governance procedures," the hedge fund said. "Any legal claims that attempt to challenge these transactions will have no merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously against any asserted claims."

Lampert, who served as CEO from 2013 through the company's bankruptcy filing last month, extended billions in financing to Sears. He also holds ownership stakes in various assets formerly owned by Sears, including valuable real estate spun off in 2015 into a real estate investment trust called Seritage Growth Properties.

"No one should be shocked that he is profiting off transactions to lend Sears money —the issue is, were those deals done at arm’s length and at commercially reasonable terms?" said Philip Emma, senior analyst at Debtwire, which provides news and analysis of corporate and municipal debt.

More: Sears, Kmart stores ailing as CEO Eddie Lampert's hedge fund gets hundreds of millions

More: 7 things to know about Sears CEO Eddie Lampert

More: Sears files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, to close 142 more stores

More: Sears store closing list: 142 more Sears, Kmart locations closing in Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The Seritage deal was particularly suspicious, the unsecured creditors group alleged.

The committee said its examination of the deal shows it "appears to be at discounted prices" and that subsequent leaseback deals to Sears carried "unfavorable and burdensome terms" for the struggling retailer.

Sears was paying Seritage $90.8 million in annual rent for 151 leases, amounting to $4.73 per square foot, according to a Seritage public filing.

Seritage representatives were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

The creditors group is asking a judge to force Sears to give up documents related to the deals in question, including $2.4 billion in debt held by Lampert through his investment funds, including ESL.

Debtwire's Emma said creditors typically pull all available levers in bankruptcies in an attempt to get paid. So it's "not unexpected" that they would make these accusations given Lampert's history of lending to Sears.

What's "pretty unusual," he said, is that Lampert is acting simultaneously as debtor, investor, lender, landlord and vendor.

Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, hoping to shed debts and close more than 180 unprofitable stores in a bid to stay open as a smaller company. It had 687 stores when it filed, including its Kmart discount stores.

Lampert's ESL owns nearly 50 percent of Sears. He engineered the company's tie-up with Kmart in 2005 and has served on its board since. He gave up the CEO post when the company filed for bankruptcy.

In the final months leading up to the Chapter 11 filing, Lampert proposed that his hedge fund buy Sears appliance brand Kenmore, but a deal never happened.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Nathan Bomey on Twitter @NathanBomey.

Offline RE

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Another 40 Sears, Kmart stores closing: See the map
« Reply #213 on: November 08, 2018, 09:30:26 PM »
Another profitable day for Fast Eddie.  ::)


Another 40 Sears, Kmart stores closing: See the map
Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY Published 4:04 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2018 | Updated 7:14 p.m. ET Nov. 8, 2018

With Sears filing for bankruptcy and so many stores closing, the end may be drawing near for the iconic American retailer. Many of us aren't ready. USA

(Photo: Kelly Tyko, TCPalm via USA TODAY NETWORK)

Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this list misspelled the name of a city.

Sears Holdings is closing another 40 stores as it aims to survive Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The latest move affects 29 Sears and 11 Kmart locations.

The retailer is already in the process of closing about 188 stores: 142 announced in October that will close around the end of 2018 and 46 announced in August that will close in November.

Taken together, the closures are expected to leave the company with fewer than 500 locations remaining. The company has estimated it has about 400 stores that could be profitable on their own if it survives bankruptcy.

Here's the map of the latest round of 40 stores set to close in February. Sears Auto Store locations alongside these stores are also closing.

Offline RE

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🏬 Macy's is making a move that signals the death of department stores
« Reply #214 on: November 15, 2018, 12:04:53 AM »
No more Santa Claus at Macy's Christmas!  :'(

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Macy's is making a move that signals the death of department stores as we know them
Mary Hanbury

Macy's is shrinking some of its stores. Jonathan Weiss /

    Macy's is shrinking some of its less productive stores and cutting back on staff.
    CEO Jeff Gennette told The Wall Street Journal that he planned to cut down on merchandise so that these smaller locations require fewer employees and that he hoped a more curated assortment would create a better shopping experience for the customer.
    Kohl's has used a similar strategy in the past to stave off store closings.

Macy's has a drastic plan to boost sales in its less successful stores.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Monday, CEO Jeff Gennette said the department-store chain would shrink its less productive stores and cut back on staff at these locations.

Gennette said he hoped that by having less merchandise to wade through, Macy's could create a cleaner shopping environment and ultimately a more desirable experience for the customer.

So far, Macy's is testing the new format at four locations, cutting as much as one-fifth of the total space.

A Macy's representative did not confirm to Business Insider how many stores would be affected. Macy's is due to report quarterly earnings on Wednesday.

These smaller locations will have more self-service options, fewer cashiers, and areas to pick up or return online purchases.

This helps to trim the number of employees required. At one of the test stores, at the Stamford Town Center in Stamford, Connecticut, Macy's has pulled back on the number of employees — including cashiers — by 40%, The Journal reported.

Kohl's has used a similar strategy to fight back against the so-called retail apocalypse. Rather than close stores, it has opened smaller locations of about 35,000 square feet, or about one-sixth the size of a typical Macy's store, as well as shrunk several stores. Often, these spaces are not left empty but encompass other retailers like Aldi, a Kohl's partner.

While Kohl's has largely been praised for this strategy and is now considered an industry anomaly, reporting same-stores sales growth in recent months while its competitors have been forced to close stores, some experts say that shrinking stores is not a solution but evidence that a retailer is not resonating with customers.

"If you've got too much space, it means your brand isn't resonating," Steve Dennis, a former executive at Sears and Neiman Marcus, told The Journal. "It's not a real-estate problem — it's a brand problem."

Macy's is also investing in some of its more profitable locations, launching virtual-reality shopping technologies and rolling out concepts such as The Market @ Macy's, a pop-up store-in-a-store that stocks lesser-known brands.

Read more: Facebook is launching pop-up stores at Macy's in a move that's straight out of Amazon's playbook

Gennette said he believes investment in stores now is crucial after the company took its eye off brick-and-mortar locations to ramp up its e-commerce strategy.

"We were spending the capital and gaining market share in digital," Gennette told The Journal. "But we underinvested in brick-and-mortar. You can't just do one without the other."

That's something the former Sears CEO Edward Lampert was accused of doing during his leadership and that critics say ultimately caused the downfall of the company.

Offline RE

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🏬 Bankrupt Sears wins court approval for plans to sell stores
« Reply #215 on: November 17, 2018, 01:02:46 AM »
Fast Eddie Strikes Again!  Capitalism in a Nutshell!


Business News
November 15, 2018 / 1:03 PM / a day ago
Bankrupt Sears wins court approval for plans to sell stores
Jessica DiNapoli

3 Min Read

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (Reuters) - Sears Holdings Corp (SHLDQ.PK) won U.S. bankruptcy court approval on Thursday to move forward with plans to stay in business and sell itself, even as it continues to evaluate offers to liquidate its business.

FILE PHOTO: A store closing sale sign is posted next to a Sears logo in New Hyde Park, New York, on Oct. 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo

The 125-year-old retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month, faces opposition to its plan to sell from some creditors, who argued in court papers that Sears would be squandering hundreds of millions of dollars by pursuing a sale instead of winding down its business.

To address the creditors’ concerns, attorneys for Sears said the retailer would be considering offers for its business from liquidation firms that sell companies’ assets in pieces and shut them down.

Liquidators won an auction for the assets of sporting goods retailer Sports Authority in 2016 and then sold them off in pieces. Retailer Toys “R” Us decided to liquidate this year, shutting all of its U.S. brick-and-mortar shops.

Ray Schrock, an attorney for Sears, told the court that liquidating Sears right away would destroy value, and potentially lead to the failure of profitable businesses, such as the retailer’s home services division.

“We recognize that we have a tough task ahead to save the company,” Schrock said. Sears employs about 68,000 people.

Sears filed for bankruptcy with its bank lenders promising to give it $300 million in bankruptcy financing. The retailer late Wednesday filed papers with the court showing that it had secured an additional $350 million bankruptcy loan from Great American Capital Partners, an affiliate of liquidation specialist Great American Group.
PG&E shares jump as regulator eases bankruptcy fears

The company faces a mid-December milestone to find a bidder for its approximately 500 remaining stores and other assets. Sears already announced it plans to close about 180 of its stores.

Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert, a billionaire who runs hedge fund ESL Investments Inc, is working “around the clock” with possible lenders to finance a bid to keep Sears in business, according to bankruptcy-court papers.

Lampert, who was Sears’ chief executive until it filed for bankruptcy, has loaned the company billions of dollars over the years, and plans to use some of the money he is owed to finance his offer for company assets, according to court papers.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in White Plains, New York; Editing by Leslie Adler

Offline Surly1

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How vulture capitalists ate Sears
« Reply #216 on: November 17, 2018, 07:46:00 AM »
Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert, a billionaire who runs hedge fund ESL Investments Inc, is working “around the clock” with possible lenders to finance a bid to keep Sears in business, according to bankruptcy-court papers.

Lampert, who was Sears’ chief executive until it filed for bankruptcy, has loaned the company billions of dollars over the years, and plans to use some of the money he is owed to finance his offer for company assets, according to court papers.

Sure he is. May Fast Eddie rot in hell.

"This is not the way to operate a healthy business. This is the way to extract value."

How vulture capitalists ate Sears

Jeff Spross

Sears, the iconic American retailer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday. Many analysts are treating Sears' fall as a cautionary tale about imprudent borrowing and failures to adapt — particularly in the face of e-commerce and rivals like Amazon. There is obviously a lot of truth in this.

But there's another piece of the narrative that deserves just as much attention: how Sears was stripped for parts by a Wall Street hedge fund.

If you track the long-term course of Sears' revenue and stock price, the problems didn't just set in with the arrival of Walmart and the big-box stores, or with Amazon and the rise of the internet economy. Instead, the tailspin really started with the arrival of a guy named Eddie Lampert and his hedge fund, ESL Investments.

Lampert had already bought Kmart out of bankruptcy in 2003. And in 2004 and 2005, he engineered Kmart's purchase of and merger with Sears, creating the third-largest retailer in the country at the time. Lampert became chairman of the combined company's board. In 2013, Lampert became Sears' CEO.

Lampert slashed capital investments to try and create a more efficient company. He retooled Sears' structure, so that almost three dozen different business departments — like shoes, home furnishings, or menswear — were each siloed, with their own management team and even their own board. It was a model taken from the hedge fund world, meant to encourage healthy competition inside the company and thus power a better overall business.

"There are a lot of decisions made over a long period of time, including by me, that may not have been always the best decisions," Lampert toldVanity Fair in April. "But I did have a point of view in terms of how shopping habits were going to change." He didn't think Sears could ever compete on the same level with the likes of Bloomingdale's or Nordstrom, and shouldn't have spent money trying. "I don't need to invest in fixtures, but I do need to invest in the features and the experiences," he continued.

But critics contend Lampert really didn't know what he was doing.

Sears invested less than 1 percent of revenue in its own capital needs from 2006 to 2017, compared to 4 percent by Target and Macy's. Many Sears stores were left in rundown shape. And without attractive in-store experiences, the company couldn't springboard customers to its website. Meanwhile, the idea of siloing different departments into competing mini-companies may have worked in finance, where teams are just competing to create investment portfolios. But within the concrete goods-and-services world of Sears, it created a "lord of the flies" atmosphere where sales staff in the same store would refuse to help one another, or fight over ad and shelving space.

Now, one thing Lampert and ESL were able to engineer, at least for a while, was a massive return to shareholders — and Lampert owns nearly a thirdof all those shares himself. (ESL Investments owns another 19 percent.) Sears' profits boomed after the merger, before finally starting to fall around the time Lampert became CEO. The company plowed $6 billion into stock buybacks from 2005 to 2012, temporarily goosing the company's stock price.

Another thing Lampert and ESL did was load Sears up with debt. The company owes $5.6 billion. A lot of that credit was loaned to Sears by Lampert and his various operations. ESL Investments owns 40 percent of Sears' debt load all by itself. Lampert and his fellow hedge funders not only ran the company, and thus made the decision to borrow the money; they lent it the money, and thus benefit from Sears' debt service payments.

Finally, Lampert also had Sears sell off $3 billion of its physical properties in 2015 to a fund called Seritage Growth Properties. Lampert was chairman of Seritage's board of trustees. Sears went from owning its storefronts outright to often having to pay rent to stay in them — rent that, once again, Lampert benefited from.

This is not the way to operate a healthy business. This is the way to extract value. This is a story of corporate spinoffs and financial engineering to suck money out of Sears and into the pockets of Lampert and his fellows. The whole thing bears a striking resemblance to how Bain Capital and other private equity funds cannibalized Toys 'R' Us.

Obviously Sears had other problems beyond Lampert and this type of financial pillaging. Sears' business model and brand are of a bygone era, and it's arguable that nothing could have saved Sears. But Sears' fall is also a lesson in how the people at the top of a corporation can also act as a kind of modern-day viking raiding party, traveling from company to company and pillaging each in turn. "[Lampert] had a puppet board who have never pushed back in any way that anybody has ever seen, and why would they?" Mark Cohen, the former CEO of Sears Canada, told Vanity Fair. "They're all handpicked Eddie acolytes."

None of this is sustainable, of course. You can only bleed a company so much before it dies.

Sales and revenue eventually plummeted, and Sears hasn't turned a profit since 2010. It's closed over 2,000 stores since 2011. Over the last 10 years, the company's market value fell by at least $26 billion, and 175,000 of its employees lost their jobs. The workers and salespeople who remain have seen their take-home pay severely reduced over the last few years. Finally, bogged down by debt obligations, Sears filed for Chapter 11 on Monday.

The bankruptcy will involve closing another 142 unprofitable stores, on top of 46 other closings already in the works, leaving the company with probably around 600 stores remaining. The hope is that going through Chapter 11 will allow Sears to emerge on the other side still intact in some way.

As major holders of Sears' debt — debt that is largely secured, moreover — Lampert and ESL will have enormous sway over how the bankruptcy proceeds. Chapter 11 will either repay the debt they're owed, or transform their debt holdings into new shareholder positions

They ran Sears into the ground, and yes, they'll lose a bunch of money for that. But they'll make a bunch of money, too.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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🏬 Walmart is trying desperately to contain the Black Friday chaos
« Reply #217 on: November 23, 2018, 08:38:04 AM »
It was bad enough on Wednesday.  You would have to be nuts to go out and brave this shit today.  Stick to online shopping!


Walmart is trying desperately to contain the Black Friday chaos by creating what customers are calling a 'maze' — but photos reveal a wild shopping fiasco
Kate Taylor

walmart shopping black friday Walmart is known for its crowded stores on Black Friday. Gunnar Rathbun/AP

    Walmart has attempted to calm the chaos of Black Friday with new maps and rearranged stores.
    But inside the stores on Thursday evening, things looked as crowded and hectic as ever.
    Some shoppers are complaining that Walmart's creation of a "maze" is making Black Friday shopping take even longer.

Black Friday at Walmart looks just as wild as ever, despite the retail giant's best attempts at calming the chaos.

Every year, Walmart tweaks its Black Friday game plan in an attempt to better deal with the crowds that mob its stores starting on Thanksgiving Day.

This year, adjustments include rearranging stores to funnel customers to registers and highlight popular items. The new arrangements mean new color-coded maps, printed in Walmart's circulars and, for the first time, available for reference on its app. And to avoid lines, customers can check out with certain employees throughout the stores.

Read more: Walmart is eliminating the most dreaded part of holiday shopping

But the revamp hasn't fully solved the Black Friday chaos. A look at social media shows that across the US, Walmart stores — which kicked off sales at 6 p.m. — are as crowded and intense as ever.

Some shoppers said the "maze" Walmart created was part of the problem.

But at least one Walmart Black Friday innovation this year has been welcomed with open arms.

"Check Out With Me," a feature allowing shoppers to check out with employees with mobile devices in the busiest sections of its stores, is a hit with customers — if they can find the workers.

Still, for the most part, chaos — or at least crowds — reigned at Walmart.

But for many shoppers who got their hands on Black Friday deals, the hectic scene was worth it.
More on Black Friday 2018:

    Thanksgiving is killing Black Friday by replacing it
    Black Friday deals sold out at stores like Walmart and Target before Friday even began — and people are furious
    Furious shoppers faced off against crashing websites on Thanksgiving Day — and it reveals a massive evolution of Black Friday shopping
    Walmart says it's offering thousands more deals than last year on Cyber Monday in a direct shot at Amazon's most valuable day
    Walmart shoppers are complaining that stores are running out of iPhones as Black Friday sales begin

Offline azozeo

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Death of Retail - Bayer Slashes 12,000 jobs since Monsanto Marriage
« Reply #218 on: December 04, 2018, 11:24:42 AM »

Bayer, the German drugmaker that bought U.S. seed company Monsanto earlier this year, announced on Thursday the sale of a number of businesses, around 12,000 job cuts and 3.3 billion euros ($3.8 billion) in impairments, Reuters reported.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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🏬 Lampert Is Effectively Paying Nothing Additional For Sears
« Reply #219 on: Today at 12:09:35 AM »
Fast Eddie on the Prowl again!  Same victim here.

No surprise to the Diners of course.


Lampert Is Effectively Paying Nothing Additional For Sears
Dec. 9, 2018 6:13 PM ET|

About: Sears Holdings Corporation (SHLDQ), Includes: UHAL
WYCO Researcher
WYCO Researcher
Special situations, research analyst, value, long/short equity

Lampert sent his tentative bid for the assets of Sears to Lazard last week.

Lampert/ESL will use a $1.8 billion credit bid to buy the assets without putting in additional cash.

Lampert may use some of his new equity in a new Sears to pay other claim holders.

The new Sears will still have way too much debt.

Current shareholders get nothing.

As expected, Eddie Lampert/ESL has made an indicative bid for almost all of Sears Holdings (OTCPK:OTCPK:SHLDQ) assets in a letter sent to Lazard. He effectively, however, is not really paying anything new for the assets. Many media headlines make it seem like he is proposing to pay $4.6 billion. Sounds impressive. It is not. Based on information currently available, it looks like other Sears shareholders get nothing and the same could happen to unsecured claim holders. He is using a $1.8 credit bid (not cash), using more debt, using some of his new stock, and assuming a very select group of existing liabilities to pay for all the assets.
What Lampert Is Getting

He is not buying Sears Holdings Corp. He is not paying current SHLDQ shareholders anything. He is buying assets under section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code. This is not some type of tender offer for shares that often happens when a non-bankrupt company is bought.

Lampert/ESL is getting the following assets:

    500 (approx.) stores
    Other real estate (headquarters and distribution centers)
    Sears Auto Centers
    Shop Your Way
    Sears Home Service Business
    $1.8 billion inventory and receivables
    Non-debtor assets
    Huge net operating losses to offset future income taxes
    Releases to protect himself from any liability caused by prior/current acts

Cash Paid By Lampert/ESL For The Above Assets


Unusual Assets

Net Operating Losses-An Asset

I covered the 382 exception in a recent bankruptcy article, but if Lampert gets 50%+ of the new equity and there is not another change in control for two years, the New Sears will gain a significant income tax benefit using their large prior net operating losses. These net operating losses are not as valuable after the corporate income tax reduction from 35% to 21% and Sears needs to actually have taxable income for them to be usable, but they still are, however, valuable assets for Lampert.


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