The hedge fund billionaire will become CEO at the struggling department store chain Sears Holdings Corp, succeeding Lou D’Ambrosio, who headed up the company for around two years. Mr. D’Ambrosio’s departure was influenced by a close family member’s medical condition, people familiar with the matter said…”There’s a very big difference between being a CEO of a company and a shareholder or chairman of a company,” said Mr. Lampert, whose hedge fund ESL Investments Inc. controls 56.2% of Sears shares. But, he said, his longtime board seats at Autozone and AutoNation have taught him a lot about retailing. [WSJ]
Eddie Lampert is relocating ESL Investments to Miami, according to a regulatory filing today. The move follow his purchase earlier this year of a seven-bedroom mansion in Florida’s Biscayne Bay for almost $40 million. ESL President William Crowley will not make the move “for personal reasons,” according to a spokesman for ESL. [Bloomberg Brief]
10. Paul Tudor Jones (Tudor Investment Corp): 440 million
9. George Soros (Soros Fund Management): 450 million
8. Bruce Kovner (Caxton Associates): 640 million
7. Carl Icahn (Icahn Management): 900 million
6. Eddie Lampert (ESL Investments): 1.1 billion
5. Steve Cohen (SAC Capital): 1.3 billion
4. David Tepper: 2.2 billion
3. Jim Simons (Renaissance Technologies): 2.5 billion
2. Ray Dalio (Bridgewater Associates): 3.1 billion
1. John Paulson (Paulson and Co): 4.9 billion
Best Paid Hedge Fund Managers [AR Magazine]
Word is there’s some strange stuff going down on Mr. ESL’s watch. Five high up people have left just to go to Bloomberg alone in the past few months. He has in his head what a unit’s numbers should be, and if they come in better or worse he tells the unit head “You’re wrong, that’s not what I think it should be” and micro-manages based on his (false) sense of the numbers. Very strange, not trusting accountants’ numbers, no? Many people there are seriously questioning what’s going on.
Last week, we told you about certain Tiger Cubs that were having a rough go of it this month. Today, we get some updated numbers thanks to Hedge Fund Alert. Eddie Lampert’s ESL Investments is getting walloped, off 15 percent so far this month.
As one investor put it: “A lot of guys are long and wrong in this environment.”
Here’s some other results. Read more »
Bill Ackman has finally persuaded his fellow hedgie Eddie Lampert to buy him out of Sears Canada for nearly double what he last offered. Bill has been calling Eddie a cheap SOB for over four years.
In 2006, Ackman successfully blocked Lampert’s attempt to buy his stake in Sears Canada on the cheap. At the time, Lampert, who controls the larger Sears Holdings, offered the measly sum of $18 a share (Canadian Dollars.)
Now, Lampert’s shelling out $30 a share (still in loonies,) or $560 million, for Ackman’s 17.3 percent stake.
ESL founder and Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert released his annual letter to shareholders yesterday, in which he unloaded a year’s worth of angst. First, the rating agencies. While Eddie understands that they sometimes err on the side of caution, he just doesn’t agree “with all of the critical qualitative conclusions.” Next, business leaders, regulators, public officials and journalists- they’re all the same. They “have become an echo chamber of self-support and self-congratulation, whether on TV, in print or at numerous conferences. Their words and their actions are often self-serving and they are typically regarded and reported on as if they were obvious and selfless.”
Economic upheavals often end up shuffling around a lot of names. One stadium sponsor slips beneath the dark, frigid waves, another brands its logo on the same spot without a second thought. One endorsement drops off, another endorsement steps up (but for a lot less dough). The tallest building in North America starts to see a lull in lease renewals and… it changes its name from “The Sears Tower” to “The Willis Tower.”
This shouldn’t be surprising, really. Sears moved their headquarters from the building in the 1990s. The terms of this most recent change, however, are surprising.
The Sears Tower has just shy of four million square feet available for tenants. How much of this is UK insurer Willis Group Holdings leasing to capture naming rights for the massive structure? About 3.5%. If it occurred to you that this might tell us quite a lot about who was in control of the negotiations, you aren’t alone.
“233 S. Wacker Drive LLC,” a group including, among others, Joseph Chetrit and American Landmark Properties, bought the 110 story building in 2004 for just under $850 million. It was then refinanced for about $780 million in 2007, when things were, shall we say, a bit more optimistic. The picture starts to fill out when you realize that Ernst & Young, a long-time Sears Tower tenant, reportedly declined to avail themselves of their 2012 option to renew their lease. At 380,000 square feet, their aversion to offices in the tallest building on the horizon comes as something of a blow. Naming rights? Sure thing! How soon can you move in?
Of course, we tried to reach Eddie (“ESL”) Lampert to ask him why Sears would permit themselves to lose title to the highest restrooms above street level in the world (they are on the 103rd floor), but no one would return our calls.