A tale of two Eddies, Hannibal Lecter and some fava beans
Sears Holdings is in the final stages of selling off the Craftsman brand for around $2 billion. Barely enough to keep Sears alive for another twelve months even factoring in the savings from all their store closings. Like Hannibal Lecter’s dinner guest, Dr. Gideon Abel, played by Eddie Izzard above, Eddie Lampert the CEO of Sears is eating his own vital parts to stay alive for just a bit longer. The reality is that Sears is in hospice care and it is just a matter of waiting till the final breath leaves the body, and the heart slows to a stop a few minutes later.
Just as aside: this is what debt does to a person, a company or a country. The debt grows to a point that each eventually resorts to some form of financial cannibalism that only delays the inevitable death. At least with financial death (bankruptcy or default), there is the hope of new life.
Would you like a leg or perhaps a thigh?
Lampert is also looking for suitors for the DieHard, and Kenmore brands as well. A Sears without these three brands is nothing more than a K-Mart, another chain also owned by Sears Holdings. Krap-Mart is at the bottom of the heap compared to Wal-Mart, Target and others. But the problem remains that Sears is dead even after sawing off the arms and legs Craftsman, Kenmore and DieHard as tasty morsels for it’s competitors.
Stanley Black & Decker, Husqvarna have been the recent speculations, though Lowe’s and Home Depot were mentioned in the spring. Stanley Black & Decker were the best guess until they recently acquired Newell Brand’s tool business. Newell has the Irwin and Lenox brands of tools among others. Now it’s back to a buyers market again and Sears Holdings will probably get less than what they want for the Craftsman brand. At this point it seems certain that Craftsman will wind up in a new home somewhere, but it’s anybody guess where, and whether the brand will be treated like a red-haired step-child or valued and nurtured.
My last post on Sears in August had the stock trading at about $16, now it is at $10, down from $157 just less than a decade ago.