Eddie Lampert the majority shareholder and CEO of Sears, has said that he is willing to pay as much $400 million to buy the company’s Kenmore appliance brand.
Sears Holdings, a retailer that has become cash starved and owns the Sears as well as Kmart chains, has shopped its Kenmore brand along with some other assets for a number of years in its effort to raise more money.
Sears, once the leader in sales of appliances, has been hit with declining sales that created sustained losses. However, its Kenmore brand remains widely seen as holding strong value even if the Sears brand appears to be tarnished.
Lampert sent a letter to the board of Sears earlier in 2018 suggesting it was the time to find Kenmore a buyer and added he would make a bid for the appliance brand and some other assets.
Late in the afternoon on Tuesday he sent his most recent letter to the board of Sears and released it to the public. The letter stated he was willing to pay as much as $400 million to acquire Kenmore and between $70 million and $80 million more for the Home Services Division of Sears that is more commonly called SHIP.
Sears since 2010 has losses totaling $11.2 billion. Sales have plunged over that time by 60%. There were at one time 3,500 Sears and Kmart stores in the U.S. when Lampert merged the two in 2005. Currently there are less than 1,000.
The company sold many of the stores that remain to a real estate investment company that Lampert controls as well in an attempt to raise additional funds. It is paying rent on those locations to the same real estate business.
Sears Holdings sold its Craftsman tool brand as well to Stanley Black & Decker in 2017 in a deal that was worth $900 million.
The letter from Lampert repeated his statements from the past that he believes Sears could still turn around despite financial problems.
He also said he would negotiate with lenders in an attempt to have repayment schedules extended for some of the debt Sears has and engage in other types of renegotiation or alternatives.
His letter did not detail the alternatives, but Sears warned in 2017 that there existed substantial doubt about the ability it had to remain in business over the long term. Reorganization under bankruptcy protection could be one of the alternatives.