Sears Holdings Corp. made two big announcements as it continues its attempts to reverse its flagging fortunes. It will sell 11 anchor pad locations to General Growth Properties in a $270 million deal. In addition, the company has announced plans to separate its Sears Hometown and Outlet Businesses and certain hardware stores through a rights offering.
In the anchor deal, Sears will sell Sears full-line store locations at 11 General Growth Properties assets to the mall REIT. The transaction is expected to close in the next 45 to 60 days, subject to customary closing conditions. The stores in the transaction include Sears-owned properties at the Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, Iowa; The Woodlands Mall in The Woodlands, Texas; West Oaks Mall in Ocoee, Fla.; Fashion Place in Murray, Utah; Quail Springs Mall in Oklahoma City and Provo Towne Centre in Provo, Utah. The leased locations are in Ala Moana Center in Honolulu; Bellis Fair in Bellingham, Wash.; Mall of the Bluffs in Council Bluffs, Iowa; Apache Mall in Rochester, Minn. and Market Plae Shopping Center in Champaign, Ill.
The stores will continue to operate as Sears locations into 2013 with final closing dates to be determined and announced later this year.
"This portfolio represents a significant opportunity to recapture valuable real estate within our portfolio," General Growth COO Shobi Khan said in a statement. "This acquisition also enhances several expansion and redevelopment opportunities including re-tenanting the anchor space and adding new in-line GLA.”
Splitting off sectors
In other news, Sears said it intends to separate its Sears Hometown and Outlet Businesses and certain hardware stores through a proposed rights offering that is expected to raise approximately $400 million to $500 million.
The rights will entitle holders to purchase shares in the combined Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores businesses and certain hardware stores and will be transferred to holders of Sears Holdings common stock. The record date, subscription price, subscription ratio (the number of rights needed to acquire a share in the newly formed company) and other terms of the rights offering have not yet been determined by the Sears’ board.
Proceeds from the share subscription will provide additional liquidity to Sears Holdings and are expected to be used for general corporate purposes. Edward S. Lampert, chairman of the board of directors of Sears Holdings and Chairman and CEO of ESL Investments Inc. (together with its affiliated funds, ESL), has said that ESL, which is Sears Holdings' largest shareholder, intends to exercise its subscription rights in full at the anticipated valuation, subject to the successful completion of the transaction process.
This is the second major announcement from Sears Holdings in the past 60 days. On Dec. 27, 2011., the firm revealed plans to shutter 120 underperforming Sears and Kmart stores.