Tags: Sears | retail | Lampert | fund

Sears Borrows $400 Million From Hedge Fund as Losses Grow

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 02:45 PM

Sears Holdings Corp. is taking a $400 million short-term loan from the hedge fund owned by its chief executive officer and largest shareholder, Edward Lampert.

Lampert’s ESL Investments provided $200 million as of yesterday and will fund the remainder on Sept. 30, Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears said in a regulatory filing. The money will be used for “general corporate purposes.”

Sears has been selling and spinning off assets to raise cash as losses mount. The company posted a second-quarter loss of $573 million last month and said it would seek more long-term capital-structure flexibility from lenders.

“It’s an easy deal for him to do” because it is short- term and secured, Mary Ross Gilbert, an analyst at Imperial Capital LLC, said Monday. “It’s no surprise because we already know that the company has significant cash burn.”

The loan helps meet the company’s previously announced goal of raising $1 billion in liquidity this year, Howard Riefs, a spokesman, said in an e-mail.

The borrowing “allows us additional financial flexibility, particularly as we enter the holiday season,” Riefs said. “We want to be proactive in demonstrating to our vendors and other constituents that we will continue to generate liquidity needed to invest in our business and meet all of our financial obligations.”

Sears fell 9.3 percent to $30.39 at 1:57 p.m. New York time and earlier slid as much as 10 percent for the biggest intraday drop since Jan. 10. The shares declined 16 percent this year through yesterday.

Commercial Paper

The ESL loan, which has a base annual interest rate of 5 percent, matures at the end of the year and can be extended for two additional months, Sears said. It is secured by a first lien on 25 stores.

Sears has cut back on borrowing commercial paper, short- term, unsecured credit used to fund daily operations, most of which was funded by ESL and Lampert. Sears had $7 million outstanding as of Aug. 2, none of it from Lampert or his fund, compared with $235 million held by ESL in the year-ago period, according to the company’s latest quarterly filing.

The new loan secured by real estate provides Sears “with a more predictable source of funding,” Chris Brathwaite, a company spokesman, said.

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Sears Holdings Corp. is taking a $400 million short-term loan from the hedge fund owned by its chief executive officer and largest shareholder, Edward Lampert.
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2014-45-16
Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 02:45 PM
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