Unless there really is a Santa Claus, Sears Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: SHLD) is going to seek bankruptcy protection.
It's only a matter of time. And that time is running out, quickly.
Billionaire hedgie Eddie Lampert, who besides running his namesake ESL Investments fund also runs Sears Holdings as its chairman and CEO, just put another $200 million into Sears last month.
That brings his fund's helping hand, I mean handout, to a tad more than $2 billion!
Poor Sears was once the Amazon of its day. Now it's not only a dinosaur, it's already dead.
We're going to do a little grave dancing before the obituary arrives.
Here's how much of a mess SHLD already is and how you can profit from its extinction…
Hell Will Break Loose Any Day Now
To be clear, that ESL $200 million went to Sears USA, not Sears Canada.
You know Sears Canada, don't you? The Canadian unit of Sears was spun out of Sears Holdings back in 2014 in a financial engineering move that, presumably, attempted to save both units' lives.
That didn't work out so well. Sears Canada declared bankruptcy this past summer. It has until Nov. 7 to get itself out from under the protective blanket covering it, and then all hell breaks loose.
Sears Canada's CEO recently split from the company to assemble an investor group (hopefully with some private equity swashbucklers) to make a bid to buy the company out of bankruptcy.
So far, with the clock ticking, they've got nothing. In fact, the race is practically over and there's no deal.
Creditors want to immediately close and liquidate 11 stores in Canada to get paid what they're owed. Taking those 11 stores down kills the former CEO's chances.
ESL owns 45% of Sears Canada… but it's even worse than it sounds. Eddie Lampert-controlled entities own close to half of Sears Holdings' equity (what's left after Sears Canada was spun out) and hold more than $1.7 billion of Sears' debt.
But Eddie's no fool; the money he's lending Sears is backed by real estate. The last $200 million, besides being collateralized by more of what's left of Sears' real estate, also came with an interest rate tag of 11%, which triggers higher in a default.
As if Sears Holdings isn't leveraged enough, it owns 12% of Sears Canada.
The reason Lampert had to pony up another $200 million last month is that it's coming on Christmas, and even before Sears gets there and tries to sell its way back to life, vendors are jumping ship.
Some have just stopped selling to Sears, but most of the rest are demanding they get paid a lot sooner than the typical 90 days that Sears enjoyed years ago. A lot of vendors are demanding 30 days, and some want 15 days. Increasingly, they're demanding cash, hence the latest $200 million cash infusion.
Vendors are being charged as much as 4% a month in insurance (in the case that they don't get paid) on the merchandise they ship to Sears. It's killing the already thin margins of many Sears' vendors.
Soon, there'll be nothing left to sell at all.
About the Author
Shah Gilani is the Event Trading Specialist for Money Map Press. In Zenith Trading Circle Shah reveals the worst companies in the markets - right from his coveted Bankruptcy Almanac - and how readers can trade them over and over again for huge gains. He also writes our most talked-about publication, Wall Street Insights & Indictments, where he reveals how Wall Street's high-stakes game is really played.