- Some of Sears‘ creditors are urging the company to liquidate and close all its stores.
- ESL Investments, the hedge fund led by Sears chairman Eddie Lampert, called the creditors’ demands “highly aggressive” in a new bankruptcy filing.
- ESL lambasts David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group, for his remarks during an October earnings call, in which he said the company would “make money” off Sears’ bankruptcy.
- “Indeed, Sears’ liquidation will be a ‘unique opportunity’ to improve Simon’s bottom line,” the filing reads.
Some of Sears‘ creditors have urged the company to immediately liquidate and close all its stores.
Now ESL Investments, the hedge fund led by Sears chairman Eddie Lampert, is hitting back, calling the creditors’ demands “highly aggressive” and accusing them of trying to profit off Sears’ demise.
In a bankruptcy filing late Tuesday, ESL said liquidating would force tens of thousands of employees to lose their jobs.
“How can it be that liquidation is advocated so quickly…?” the filing by ESL reads. “It appears that the explanation may be that two of the UCC’s members, Simon Property Group and Brixmor Property Group are landlords of many Sears stores, both of which have a vested interest in seeing Sears liquidate without regard to the interests of Sears’ other stakeholders.”
ESL then lambasts David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group, for his remarks during an October earnings call in which he said the company would “make money” off Sears’ bankruptcy.
“Indeed, Sears’ liquidation will be a ‘unique opportunity’ to improve Simon’s bottom line,” the filing reads.
Sears has proposed cutting its store count to roughly 400 profitable stores, then selling the associated real estate to raise cash while the company works to return to profitability. The company had 687 stores when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-October.
The group of creditors who urged Sears to liquidate said in a filing on Friday that Sears’ plan to survive bankruptcy is “nothing more than wishful thinking” and “an unjustified and foolhardy gamble with other people’s money.”
Assuming Sears sells the remaining stores within three months, the company could burn through about $US375 million, the filing reads.
“By contrast, pursuing [going-out-of-business] sales for all of [Sears’] stores during the same time period may maximise the value of [Sears’] estates,” it continues.
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