Sears Holdings Corporation (SHLD) stock has lost about one third of its already diminished value in pre-market trading as potential bankruptcy looms.
Shares of the ailing retailer are down 39% at 10:42 a.m. on Wednesday, falling to just $0.36 per share.
The slow march toward bankruptcy filing has picked up the pace as the company has hired Alan J. Carr, CEO of restructuring specialty firm Drivetrain Advisors.
"Alan brings deep experience as a director for companies that went through complex organizational change," CEO Eddie Lampert said of the hiring. "We are pleased to welcome him to the Board and look forward to the benefit of his expertise as we work to maximize value for the company and its stakeholders."
The hiring comes as an ominous signal to shareholders as the over 125-year-old retailer will need to come up with $134 million by Monday in order to stave off failure.
The company's valuation now stands at $63.8 million, less than half of the debt due.
Brian C. Kochisarli , a lawyer at Davidoff, Hutcher, and Citron, told Real Money that the company''s debt payment will offer a make or break moment for CEO Eddie Lampert.
He noted that while Lampert has been opposed to bankruptcy filing in the past, he has successfully siphoned off real estate assets and surviving business segments as the flagship company continues to fail.
Lampert's lead toward pending bankruptcy has been much maligned by whistleblowers and shareholder activists as well as his hedge fund, ESL Investments, has been one of the few winners in Sears' drawn-out demise.
The CEO has been slowly sucking profitable assets from the retailer as it heads toward the exits, including a recent bid for Kenmore, one of Sears' last profitable holdings.
"If Lampert successfully gets his hands on Kenmore, there will be even less in Sears arsenal that it can actually sell," Eric Schiffer, CEO of the Patriarch Organization and Chairman of Reputation Management Consultants, told Real Money ahead of the proposed transaction . "All in all, it's clear that Lampert wants to get that last big asset out of Sears before the shell of a company collapses."
As the company heads to a near 90% loss year to date and hires multiple restructuring experts in Carr and M-III Partners, the collapse may be coming quicker than expected.