Now that Eddie Lampert has killed Sears almost with his bare hands, he's selling the best bits off. The Craftsman brand of tools is probably the most respected piece of the formerly-august company, so naturally it's the first to go:
Sears Holdings agreed to sell its Craftsman tool brand to Stanley Black & Decker for about $900 million, marking CEO Edward Lampert's third move in the past two weeks to prop up the beleaguered retailer with fresh sources of funding.
Under terms of the deal, Stanley will pay $525 million at closing and $250 million after three years, the companies said in a statement today. The buyer also will make annual payments on new Craftsman sales for 15 years. Separately, Sears announced plans to shutter 150 unprofitable stores in a bid to streamline the chain.
Craftsman has been part of Sears since 1927, when the retailer acquired the brand for $500. The tools debuted in the iconic Sears catalog two years later. By the 1940s, the brand benefited from a surge in power-tool sales. In 1981, President Jimmy Carter was given a Craftsman woodworking set as his farewell gift when he left the White House.
I really don't understand this guy. He's loaned Sears $500m of his own money. Is it ego? Incompetence? Or part of a master plan to make money by destroying Sears? We might never know.