NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Sears Holdings (SHLD) is considering strategic alternatives for its 51% stake in Sears Canada. The Eddie Lampert-run company is also considering hiring investment bankers to lead that strategic review. But was anyone really asking?
Sears Canada sold some of its prized real estate assets in 2013; raising $509 million to pay a special dividend to its shareholders in December. The biggest beneficiary of those asset sales was Sears Holdings, which retained a controlling interest in Sears Canada since a partial spin-off of the unit in late 2012.
Sears received about a quarter of a billion dollars in the Sears Canada special dividend. Sears Canada also recently forked over a 50% interest in a development in British Columbia to Concord Pacific Group for a $140 million payment, and created a 50/50 JV with Montez Income Properties that generated $315 million in proceeds.
That Sears now is publicly announcing the company wants to sell its Sears Canada stake is no surprise. Cash needs at Sears are just as pressing as they were at the end of the year, and Sears Canada may be one of the few assets in the company's empire that could find interested buyers.
It's also no surprise Sears Holdings announced its intent to sell its Sears Canada stake. Sears earnings are due on May 22 -- it's hard to imagine remaining investors in the company have much to hope for other than asset sales and repairs to the company's balance sheet.