Monday, November 19, 2007

Sears Holdings: Earnings Release & Ackman Speech..Hmm

Sometimes in life things seem just a bit too odd to be just a coincidence. Thus the predicament us watchers of Sears Holdings (SHLD) Chairman Eddie Lampert find ourselves in after the strange timing of the upcoming Q3 earnings release.

The site Concentrated Value posts:

"According to Pershing Square Capital Management 13-F, Bill Ackman has accumulated a 5 million share stake in Sears Holdings. He is currently SHLD’s fourth largest institutional holder. I imagine Ackman wouldn’t make such a significant bet on SHLD if he didn’t see a catalyst.

Bill Ackman is scheduled to present at the Value Investing Congress (agenda link) on November 28th, 2007. Will Bill announce his intention and vision in buying into SHLD? Will he agitate Sears to sell underperforming stores to Target (TGT)? (He owns a large stake in Target as well) Will he mention the Sears Canada takeover he was involved in?

The date of the Value Investing Congress is significant because the following morning Sears Holdings will release Q3 earnings. Consider SHLD released Q3 earnings last year on 11-16-2006, investors will be curious to see if there is any significance to the two week delay. Will SHLD announce an acquisition? A majority position by ESL? Will they announce additional income and buyback programs from the sales of the Sears Canada HQ? Considering the 100% institutional ownership in SHLD, all eye will be on Lampert. "

I had not consider this when I posted on it Friday. Now, usually I dismiss 90% of what is said about Lampert immediately but this one really got me thinking. If it were not for the unusually late earnings release, none of this would be an issue but the timing of both, is a bit odd.

I am not a huge believer in pure coincidence when it come to this stuff. It will be a very closely watch couple of days. Ackman speaks at 9:40 am.

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