Hedgie Eddie Lampert may be preparing to cut his losses on Sears Holdings just prior to a huge debt payment due next week.
The long-troubled iconic retailer has been working with M-III Partners to prepare what may appear to be a prepackaged bankruptcy filing that could come as soon as this week, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
M-III Partners has been working the past couple of weeks at Sears Holdings’ headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Ill., people familiar with the situation told the Journal.
Sears has a $134 million debt payment due this coming Monday and it doesn’t look like they will be able to pay the debt.
Lampert — Sears’ and Kmart’s chairman, chief executive, largest shareholder and biggest creditor — is reportedly looking for a larger restructuring than just anteing up more cash to bail out the cash-strapped retailers.
The hedge-fund billionaire is looking to cut more than $1 billion from Sears’ $5.5 billion debt, unload another $1.5 billion worth of real estate and sell $1.75 billion in assets, including the Kenmore appliance brand, according to the Journal report.
On Tuesday, Sears brought in corporate-restructuring pro Alan Carr as a director.
He currently runs a restructuring-advisory firm and previously worked as a restructuring lawyer at Skadden, Arps, according to the report.
Sears and Kmart have lost more than $11 billion since 2011, and their annual sales have dropped nearly 60 percent in that period to $16.7 billion, according to the report.
Sears, once the world’s largest retailer, has struggled in the face of declining foot traffic in its stores.