This column was originally published on RealMoney on Oct. 7 at 11:15 a.m. EDT. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.
too hated? Has it gone from being too loved to being too despised? Does it not matter that the company is getting a $450 million dividend from Orchard, which I regarded as a total write-off from the bozos who used to run Sears? Does it not matter that we could be seeing something big from Sears Canada, too?
When the company was going up every day, you could say that it got too loved and attracted a lot of sunshine soldiers and summer patriots. Now that it goes down every day, has it attracted too many bears and ne'er-do-well put-buyers?
I say this because I think people don't understand that Sears Holdings is not a true large-capitalization situation. I think people are confusing this $19 billion situation with some of the $49 billion behemoths like
, or the super-giants like $80 billion
and the $180 billion
Sears is about twice the revenue of
but sells for about the same market cap. It is small for its size. So when it sells of this piece of property or monetizes that piece of property, it is going to matter.
Right now, people just presume that Eddie Lampert is a desperate character, losing at every turn as he tries to turn around a flailing empire. To me, he is methodically taking a look at what was buried inside of Sears and getting rid of it or boosting it, depending upon his mismanaged Sears was. The secret to how Eddie stopped the bleeding at
was how mismanaged Kmart was, not that he was a genius in merchandising. The secret to stopping the bleeding in Sears will be similar.
In the meantime, keep scoffing at the selloffs of properties. Keep buying those puts. One day you might discover that the cash on hand is worth more than the darned market cap and you know something, Eddie Lampert doesn't want to be the next Sam Walton, he wants to be the next Warren Buffett.
There's a big difference: One wanted to build a chain of stores, the other one wanted to generate a great return.
People should stop confusing the two and cover their Sears short.
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