Swapping out his Sears CEO hat for his hedge fund manager role, chairman Eddie Lampert made good on last April’s proposal to buy out the private-label Kenmore business by making a hard bid for the appliance brand.
His offer: $400 million.
In a letter to a special committee of Sears board members that was formed to consider his acquisition pitches, Lampert, through his ESL Investments firm, said he hoped to close the deal within three months, USA Today reported.
He also offered to pick up the home improvement wing of the Sears Home Services unit for a cool $70-$80 million.
Missing from the latest bid was Sears’ Parts Direct replacement parts business, which was an element of Lampert’s original proposal from April, although he continued to express interest in the chain’s remaining real estate holdings.
In his letter, disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lampert reiterated the need for speed in doing the deal, before the properties lose any further value.
Indeed, Kenmore, once the prince of appliances with some 40 percent of the U.S. market, now trails Whirlpool, GE, Samsung and LG as its owner closes stores and loses revenue. According to TWICE’s 2018 Top 50 Major Appliance Retailers report, Sears’ white-goods sales fell 19 percent last year, to $3 billion, with Kenmore comprising close to 50 percent of the sales mix.
Sears has not commented on Lampert’s Kenmore offer, which comes one year after Amazon signed on as the first outside retailer to carry the brand.