Sears To Sell $300 Million In Property To Joint Venture With Mall Owner Macerich

A few weeks ago, Sears Holdings announced that it would be starting a joint venture with mall operator Simon Properties. This new company would buy Sears stores, then lease them back to the company in an effort to raise some quick cash and keep the company’s retail operations retailing. Now Sears has announced a similar deal with another mall owner, Macerich Properties.

Each company had its own valuable contribution to the joint venture: Sears contributed nine stores, whose real estate value is $300 million. Macerich kicked in $150 million in cash, which is now in the coffers of Sears Holdings. The company that Sears started to serve as a partner in this joint venture, Seritage Growth Properties, will raise money for its contribution to the joint venture through a rights offering of its stock: that means that current Sears shareholders will have the right to buy shares of Seritage, and then Seritage will pass that money on to Sears in exchange for its share of the real estate.

“We are pleased to be in a position to unlock substantial value for Sears Holdings shareholders and further facilitate the company’s transformation,” Sears Holding chairman Eddie Lampert is quoted saying in the announcement of the joint venture. “Through these transactions, we have additional capital to invest in our membership and integrated retail platforms.”

If the Sears stores involved in the deal close or simply don’t use all of their floor space, Seritage will have the right to “recapture” that space and lease it to another retailer at whatever the market rate happens to be. Picture the current arrangements that Sears has with other retailers like Dick’s, Primark, and Whole Foods: for future arrangements like that in stores that are part of a joint venture, Seritage would be their landlord instead of Sears.

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