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The Wall Street Journal reports that Sears Holdings CEO Edward Lampert “has offered to buy the company’s Kenmore brand for $400 million in cash.”

The deal, according to the story, “is contingent on obtaining equity financing from an unnamed potential partner, according to the letter. ESL also proposed buying the home-improvement business of the Sears Home Services division for as much as $80 million … The moves are an effort by Mr. Lampert to inject Sears with cash and stave off a bankruptcy filing, while at the same time allowing the hived-off businesses to grow by distributing their products and services beyond Sears and its sister chain Kmart.”

Lampert is Sears’ controlling shareholder, and he has made a series of short-term loans to the company in order to keep it afloat, while all the while closing stores and claiming to have a long-term strategy for survival. The Journal writes that he has urged the Sears board to gauge debtholders’ “appetite for a restructuring,” while simultaneously working “with third parties to solicit interest in purchasing all or a portion of Sears’s encumbered real estate, including the assumption of debt secured by the properties.,” which would “allow for the stores’ continued operation.”
KC's View:
This continues to feel like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic, except that they are moving the chairs around after the ship has hit the iceberg.

Maybe this all makes sense, but it all feels vaguely unsavory. The stores are going to collapse - this much seems inevitable - while somehow employees and creditors are going to get screwed. And Lampert, who has been on the wrong side of the competence line almost from the moment he bought the company, is going to end up with the only assets worth anything.