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Sears Hometown Spinoff
Sears Hometown Spinoff

Sears Holdings Corp (SHLD) on Monday filed an amended preliminary prospectus or 'red herring' with the Securities and Exchange Commission to move ahead with the spinoff of its remaining Hometown and specific hardware stores through a rights offering that will also include its outlets. The plan by Sears is to spin off a publicly traded company that will control nearly 1,200 small but generally profitable franchised stores that sell Sears products, as well as its stores called Hometown. The Hometown stores are primarily independently owned, carry Sears’s own products like Kenmore appliances, Craftsman tools and Diehard batteries and, offer appliances and consumer electronics as well as, lawn and garden equipment. For 2011, Hometown stores accounted for nearly $2.6 billion of Sears’ $41 billion in revenue last year, but made up nearly 25% of its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. On Thursday, Sears will report Q2 results and expects the separation of the businesses to raise about $400 million to $500 million for Sears Holdings plus, provide the company with additional liquidity. Company executives have said that the spinoff will allow Sears, which is trying to turn operations around, to focus on its core business. The company expects to enter into an asset-based senior secure revolving credit facility and expects to provide aggregate maximum borrowings of up to $250 million, in connection with the spinoff. Prior to the spinoff, Sears expects to draw between $75 million and $100 million under the facility to pay a cash dividend to Sears Holdings. ESL Investments, the hedge fund controlled by Sears Chairman Edward Lampert that owns a majority stake in Sears, will have a majority stake in the spinoff. The new company expects to trade on the Nasdaq under the symbol (SHOS).

Chairman and Chief Executive Jason Jiang of Focus Media Holding Ltd. (FMCN) as well as other investors, are offering to take the Shanghai-based advertising company private in a $3.66 billion deal or $27 a share, that would remove it from the skeptical eye of U.S. investors as well as, short-seller Muddy Waters LLC. The move would make Focus Media the latest and largest Chinese company to remove itself from the U.S. stock market. On news of the buyout offer, FMCN shares were higher by 8% into late afternoon trading. In November, the firm has been accused by Muddy Waters LLC of overstating the number of liquid-crystal-display screens it uses to display ads in China by about 50% and accused it of overpaying, writing down $1.1 billion out of $1.6 billion in acquisitions since 2005 - claims that could not be confirmed. Muddy Waters has made a name for itself questioning the accounting and business practices of a number of U.S. listed - Chinese companies. Under mounting pressure in recent years, auditors declined to sign off on the earnings of some of the Chinese based companies.

Crude-oil futures retreated Monday as September delivery (NMN:CLU2) shed 14 cents to end at $92.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural-gas futures led losses among energy futures, with the September contract (NMN:NGU12) off 1.5% to $2.73 per million British thermal units.

Amidst restructuring of its domestic U.S. operation, on Monday, FedEx Corp. (FDX) said it will offer voluntary buyouts to an unspecified number of staff as the package shipper. With the focus on FedEx Express and Service units which employs over 158,000 people, FedEx is still determining eligibility for the planned buyouts. As customers shift from pricier overnight air delivery at the domestic Express, volume has taken a substantial hit with the company parking jets in the wake of a slowdown in business from Asia. With buyout offers due to individuals by next May, FedEx said the cost of the staff cuts has yet to be determined with cost spread out over several quarters in fiscal 2013 and 2014.


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Aug 13, 2012


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