Sears Heads Towards Penny Stock Status

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Sears Holdings Corp. (NASDAQ: SHLD) has been circling the drain for some time now, but with its most recent move it’s looking to stave off bankruptcy yet again. The company announced that it would be restructuring its liabilities with the help of CEO Eddie Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments.

Overall, the retail chain has lost more than $11 billion since 2011, and its sales have decreased by roughly 60% in this time to $16.7 billion in its most recent fiscal year. Analysts are saying it needs to raise about $1.5 billion a year to stay afloat.

Lampert’s restructuring proposal comes as Sears risks breaching its debt covenants and faces a significant payment of $134 million on October 15. Keep in mind that Sears only has a market cap of $130 million.

ESL’s efforts laid out earlier this year to infuse cash into the company by selling its Kenmore appliance brand and its home improvement business have been held up by a special committee of the board of directors. After years of selling off certain assets, including Craftsman, and real estate to keep to the company afloat, Sears appears to be running out of assets it can offer lenders as collateral in a restructuring.

As for the proposal, Lampert has asked the board to sell off about $1.75 billion worth of assets, which would reduce Sears’ total debt by roughly 80% to $1.24 billion. Lampert is also proposing Sears sell about $1.5 billion worth of real estate, much of which has been used as collateral in the past to generate liquidity. Some of the stores in such a transaction would be leased back to Sears.

Excluding Monday’s move, Sears has vastly underperformed the broad market with its shares down about 82% in the past 52 weeks. In just 2018 alone, the stock is down closer to 65%.

Shares of Sears were last seen down about 6% on the day $1.19, with a consensus analyst price target of $2.00 and a 52-week trading range of $1.07 to $7.78.