Simon and Sears, sittin’ in a tree…
Sears has agreed to transfer ten properties, valued at $228 million, to a company that it will own jointly with Simon Property Group, according to Bloomberg, and a statement released by both companies. This agreement includes a leaseback deal where Sears will be able to continue to operate stores at the agreed upon locations. Simon has also agreed to buy another Sears property at the La Plaza Mall in Texas.
Chairman and CEO of Sears Holdings, Eddie Lampert, stated, “We are pleased to reach this agreement with Simon Property Group, which is an important step in Sears Holdings’ continued transformation to a membership company, without the significant asset intensity of its traditional retail business.”
This joint venture is unique
David Simon, Chairman and CEO of Simon Property Group, stated, “The creation of this joint venture represents an exciting new chapter in our long and successful relationship with Sears Holdings. This is a natural, forward-thinking partnership that will also offer us the ability to potentially redevelop certain locations that will create value for our customers and investors.”
In case you missed it, this is just the latest of several Sears boosting methods introduced by Lampert. Sears outlets have been one of the more effective boosting methods seen. Sears also recently announced a similar joint venture with General Growth Properties (based in Chicago) less than two weeks ago.
That agreement included 12 properties and was valued at $330 million. This latest venture will allow Lampert and other major shareholders some breathing room to continue operations and acquire company assets after the retailer recorded its fourth straight year of falling profit and revenue in 2014.
Will the JV project pay off?
Lampert seems to agree; stating, “this transaction, taken together with our other initiatives to create shareholder value through our vast real estate portfolio, enhances Sears Holdings’ financial flexibility to invest in longer-term strategies such as our membership and integrated retail platforms. Sears Holdings will continue to operate these 10 stores and there will be minimal impact on their day-to-day operations or the overall shopping experience for our members.”
Only time will tell whether or not these financial endeavors pay off, or are merely a stall on the way to more financial woes for the company.