Sears appears to be preparing for a long expected bankruptcy filing
11 October, 2018, 06:43 | Author: Brooke Harris
"Alan brings deep experience as a director for companies that went through complex organizational change", said Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, in a statement.
Lampert - Sears' largest shareholder and creditor and the owner of the hedge-fund ESL Investments - asked creditors last month to refinance $1.1 billion in debt before the October 15 payment, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. CNNreported that while that sell-off represented only 8 percent of the investor's holdings, he could be cutting his losses since "shareholders are typically wiped out in bankruptcy".
Lampert, who created Sears in its current form in 2005 by acquiring it in a $11 billion deal and merging it with his discount retailer Kmart, proposed deals to reduce the company's debt load to $1.2 billion from $5.6 billion in September. When Lampert took over as head of the company five years ago, there were 2,000 stories.
Sears shares are down 35 percent this morning and trading at 38 cents a share. Talks are under way to arrange debtor-in-possession financing for a bankruptcy filing that could come in the next few days, the source added.
But the retail landscape is littered with out-of-business brands that tried to reorganize in the bankruptcy process and liquidated their businesses instead.
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However, Lampert wants to restructure the debt without filing for bankruptcy protection, because he views bankruptcy as risky for retailers, the paper said.
Sears, which was the world's largest retailer in the 1960s, has been struggling in recent decades, in the face of declining foot traffic as brick-and-mortar stores struggle to compete with online stores led by Amazon.com.
Sears was at one point America's largest retailer and its largest employer.
Sears and Kmart merged to form Sears Holdings in 2005 when they had 3,500 USA stores between them.
The 125-year-old company, which has not turned a profit since 2010, has approached several banks to prepare for a bankruptcy filing, according to CNBC.
If Sears were to file for bankruptcy, its financial performance during the upcoming holiday season could prove crucial in determining its future, according to the sources.
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