Sears Secures $200 Million Letter of Credit From CEO Just to Stay Afloat
The struggling, long-popular retailer Sears [Holding Corp] may be down but you can’t count them out yet. The company is, of course, backed by hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert and shares have just jumped for the first time in nearly two months after taking out a $200 million letter of credit for its benefactor.
According to a statement released Thursday, this $200 million could eventually extend to as much as $500 million, with lender consent. Lampert’s firm, ESL Investments, have issued the promise to fund Sears’ recovery attempt through Citigroup Inc.
This move, though, signals just how far Lampert is willing to extend his commitment to fund Sears Holdings Corp. And this is in spite of the fat that the department-store chain continues to greatly suffer from sparse sales (and billions of dollars worth of red ink). Lampert acquired the company more than 10 years ago but he has since had to sell off many of the assets and the real estate in an attempt to bring the company back out of the red.
With news of the new line of credit, then, shares of Sears stock soared nearly 9 percent—to reach $8.89—in New York trading. Obviously, this marks the biggest intraday gain for the stock since November 14. More importantly, this helps to restore some of the loss the stock has sustained over the course of this year, falling 60 percent since its most recent rally.
Still, it was only a few weeks ago that Sears reported yet another huge quarterly deficit—this time to the tune of $748 million—which now brings the company down to about $9.35 billion over the past 8 years. As such, Moody’s Investors Service analyst Christina Boni comments that the company will need to raise an additional $1.5 billion just to comfortably survive 2017.
Sears Holdings Corp Chief Financial Officer, Jason Hollar, comments, though,t hat the company still has “numerous options” for financing. While this is benchmark is certainly not a “dare” to be taken, he comments, “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.”
Time will tell, of course, if they can manage to pull it all together.