Sears Hires Advisers to Prepare Bankruptcy Filing

Sears, that has been losing income for years, has $134 million in debt due on Monday. Edward Lampert, a hedge-fund manager who is Sears’s chairman, arch executive, largest shareholder and biggest creditor, could rescue a company, as he has finished in a past by creation a payment.

But Mr. Lampert is pulling for a broader restructuring that would embody shred some-more than $1 billion from Sears’s $5.5 billion debt load, offering another $1.5 billion of genuine estate and divesting $1.75 billion of assets, including a Kenmore apparatus brand, that he has offering $400 million to buy himself.

The company’s bad financial opening has done it formidable to get support from lenders for a plan, one of a people said. Mr. Lampert hopes to cringe Sears behind to profitability, this chairman said. The association has already sealed hundreds of stores in new years.

Sears Hires Advisers to Prepare Bankruptcy Filing

Sears has some-more than $11 billion in accumulative waste given 2011, and a annual sales have forsaken scarcely 60% in that duration to $16.7 billion. Analysts contend it needs to lift some-more than $1 billion a year to stay afloat.

Mr. Lampert has also sought recommendation from consulting organisation AlixPartners; lawyers during Weil, Gotshal Manges LLP; and investment bank Lazard Ltd., as he attempted to keep a association afloat and restructure out of failure court, a people said.

On Tuesday, Sears combined restructuring consultant Alan Carr as a director, expanding a six-person house to seven. Mr. Carr runs a restructuring advisory organisation and formerly worked as a restructuring counsel during Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher Flom LLP. He has also served on a house of companies—including wireless-networking business LightSquared Inc. and guitar builder Gibson Brands Inc.—that have recently navigated a failure process.

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Mr. Lampert met his compare in Sears, Roebuck Co. The tradesman was struggling before he combined it with Kmart, that he discovered from bankruptcy, to emanate Sears Holdings Corp. in 2005.

He changed fast to cut losses and tighten unprofitable stores. But a business worsened entrance out of a recession, as some-more purchases were done online and rivals such as Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. grew stronger. The association wasn’t helped by Mr. Lampert’s radical proceed to retailing. He resisted investing in store upgrades and, after apropos CEO in 2013, managed a association from Florida, according to people informed with a situation.

Mr. Lampert wants to restructure Sears’s debt though filing for failure protection, since he views failure as unsure for retailers, according to a chairman informed with his thinking. Retailers mostly enter failure with a wish of restructuring though breeze adult liquidating instead, as was a box this year with Toys “R” Us Inc., this chairman said.

Mr. Lampert, whose sidestep account ESL Investments Inc. owns a infancy of Sears shares, also believes a association can get some-more value for a resources by offering them while it is a going concern, this chairman added.

Critics have indicted Mr. Lampert of stripping resources from a beleaguered company. The chairman informed with Mr. Lampert’s meditative pronounced he has been offering resources to give Sears a money it needs to stay in business.

While M-III Partners itself is comparatively new to a restructuring industry, a founder, Mohsin Meghji, is deliberate a turnaround expert. The former Arthur Andersen consultant and co-founder of another boutique advisory organisation has been operative on restructurings for scarcely 30 years.

Sears, that still has scarcely 900 stores, would be M-III’s biggest assignment. It recently served as arch restructuring officer of Real Alloy, an aluminum recycling association that sought failure insurance in 2017.

Shares of Sears, that traded as high as $144 over a decade ago, sealed Tuesday during 59 cents, a pointer that investors are fresh for a intensity failure filing or restructuring.

Write to Suzanne Kapner during Suzanne.Kapner@wsj.com, Lillian Rizzo during Lillian.Rizzo@wsj.com and Soma Biswas during soma.biswas@wsj.com

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