The Sears/ESL Investments CEO has chosen to antagonize his former investors rather than his continuing investors, paying out the former’s redemption requests with shares of a company he owns rather than in the cash they wanted, so as to avoid having the latter face a higher tax bill. Unfortunately, there were so many of the former, and he had to give away so many shares, that it is now no longer accurate to say that Lampert owns Sears. He now merely owns most of it.
Who else is looking forward to Sears’ annual meeting? Read more »
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]
“Of the top 25 earners of 2010, 15 did not make this year’s list [of highest paid hedge fund managers]. Among them: Appaloosa’s David Tepper, whose Palomino fund fell 3.33 percent, and Edward Lampert of ESL Partners, which plunged 12 percent on big losses from Sears Holdings. Mr. Tepper did not respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for ESL declined to comment. Mr. Paulson — the $5 billion manager in 2010 — failed to make the list this time. One of his largest funds lost more than 50 percent, after bets on the economic recovery soured. A spokesman for Paulson declined to comment.” [Dealbook, AR, related: “Mr. Tepper keeps a brass replica of a pair of testicles in a prominent spot on his desk…He rubs the gift for luck during the trading day.”]
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.