Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) has been fighting a seemingly losing battle for years now, with shares consistently on the decline. However, we saw an unexpected move happen early on Thursday when the company secured a standby letter of credit facility, which will provide Sears with additional liquidity to fund its operations. In other words, Sears will live to fight another day.
The standby letter of credit is allowing for an initial amount of $200 million and may be expanded at the request of the company and the consent of the lenders for up to an additional $300 million. Keep in mind that Sears only has a market cap of just below $1 billion ($915 million).
The credit facility is being provided by JPP and JPP II, which are affiliates of ESL Investments, with Citibank serving as administrative agent and issuing bank.
The terms of the credit facility were approved by the Related Party Transactions Subcommittee of the Board of Directors of the Company, with advice from Centerview Partners and Weil Gotshal & Manges, the subcommittee’s outside financial and legal advisors.
Jason M. Hollar, Sears’s chief financial officer, commented:
As Sears Holdings has consistently shown, we will take actions to adjust our capital structure, generate liquidity and manage our business to enable us to execute on our transformation while meeting all of our financial obligations. This new standby letter of credit facility further demonstrates that Sears Holdings has numerous options to finance our business strategy.
Excluding Thursday’s move, Sears had underperformed the broad markets, with the stock down about 60% year to date.
Shares of Sears were up 7.3% at $8.78 early Thursday, with a consensus analyst price target of $9.00 and a 52-week trading range of $8.00 to $20.59.