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Ira Epstein's End of the Day Agriculture Video 12 21 2018
Ira Epstein


Published on Dec 21, 2018
 

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Sears plans 50 to 80 more store closures as challenges mount

CNBC
Lauren Hirsch
2 hrs ago

Even as Eddie Lampert is trying to keep Sears alive, the company is preparing for its potential doom.

Sears' chairman, Eddie Lampert earlier this month unveiled his $4.6 billion proposal to save Sears by buying the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. Such a deal is likely its last chance at survival. If Lampert can't buy the company, it will likely need to liquidate and sell itself in parts. But as the deal faces increasing legal and financing challenges, the company is bracing for the reality it may not come together at all.

Sears' advisers told the bankruptcy court judge this week the company is already planning to close a number of stores and solicit liquidation bids as a protection, should Lampert's effort fall apart. The retailer is weighing closing to 50 to 80 more stores at the end of the year, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. That could bring Sears' footprint closer to 400. Lampert has said he wants to buy roughly 500 stores.

The company filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 15 with a little under 700 stores. At that time it said it would close 142 unprofitable stores, then in November it announced the closure of 40 additional stores.

The plans are a precaution. It is possible that Sears averts further store closures should Lampert seal a deal to buy the company and its 500-store footprint. But they are an implicit acknowledgement of the potential bleak reality that may lie soon in Sears' future.

Lampert has yet to formalize and submit financing to support his offer for Sears, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. Advisers spent much of Monday in active negotiations discussing the asset-backed loan that would support Lampert's offer. Lending to Sears provides bank underwriting fees, but it also would require confidence in the business strategy of a company that hasn't turned a profit since 2010.

Without formal financing, Sears last weekend missed its chance to be named a so-called stalking horse bidder in an auction for Sears. It still has until Dec. 28 to submit a formal offer for the company. Being named the stalking horse in a bankruptcy sale typically affords a number of perks, like a role in setting bidding procedures and a break-up fee should that bid be topped.

Meantime, Lampert is financing $1.8 billion of his bid by rolling over debt he already holds in the company. But that too carries uncertainty — and, now, formal pushback.

Some of Sears' creditors have taken aim at some Sears' transactions under Lampert's leadership, including his spinoff of Lands' End and transactions with Seritage Growth Properties, the real estate investment trust Lampert created through select Sears properties. Those creditors told the bankruptcy court judge this week they plan to contest a credit bid.

It remains unclear whether Lampert would be willing to backstop the credit portion of the bid with cash, should he not be able to use debt to fund it. It therefore remains unclear how else he would finance the bid.

Meantime, ESL is asking as part of its bid that the creditors agree to another stipulation: a release from lawsuits over his past transactions. With the threat of litigation looming large, that too is far from sure.

A spokesperson for Sears declined to comment.

In statement provided to CNBC, a spokesperson for ESL Investments said, "ESL Investments is working around the clock to try to keep Sears in business with a going concern proposal that would save tens of thousands of jobs and provide severance protections for eligible workers."

http://www.msn.com/en-us/money/comp...res-as-challenges-mount/ar-BBRhwET?ocid=ientp
 

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Stocks have a Long Way to Go Down | Dave Kranzler
SilverDoctors


Published on Dec 21, 2018
FREE SHIPPING on orders over $99 USD: https://SDBullion.com
Podcast - http://www.SilverDoctors.com/precious...

Welcome to this week's Metals & Markets, I am your host James Anderson of SD Bullion.

Gold and silver showed strength this week as the Federal Reserve nudged the Fed funds rate 25 basis points higher and various equities in the US stock market reached bear market territory. Silver spot price appears to be closing the week around $14.70 oz, while gold spot price should close near the $1,260 US dollar per troy ounce mark.

With us this week is a returning guest to the podcast... topics discussed include the recent Fed funds rate increase, the recent rollover in major US stock values, what is in store for the US dollar and gold in the year to come. The US real estate market, and finally a micro level discussion on Elon Musk and Tesla.

Stick around for the end of the interview for little Friday humor as we close with a heavily edited recent interview between Elon Musk and HBO's Axios program ( full, unedited HBO Axios interview here: https://youtu.be/4qUA3nNWyCg?t=50 ).

With us this week, a returning guest, Mr. Dave Kranzler of InvestmentResearchDynamics.com

A bit further background on Tesla in 2018 from early October:
https://youtu.be/zkRYe6s9xVw?t=230

#GoldUpdate #TeslaShort #StockMarket

FULL SHOW NOTES:
https://SDBullion.com/blog/stock-mark...