CNBC has previously reported.
The news comes as the embattled retailer has $134 million in debt due this Monday.
Representative from Sears and M-III didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Sears also on Tuesday said it added restructuring expert Alan Carr to its board — roughly a year after longtime Sears investor, Bruce Berkowitz, stepped down from his board seat.
Sears CEO Eddie Lampert meanwhile has proposed a plan via his hedge fund vehicle to restructure the department store chain’s debt, in addition to asking Sears’ board to sell off roughly $1.75 billion worth of assets, including the Kenmore appliance brand. But he’s running out of time, as the company runs out of cash. Analysts say Sears would need to generate more than $1 billion a year to keep running, as its sales continue to erode.
A bankruptcy filing would cap years of efforts by Lampert to keep the company afloat by steadily stripping out assets. Earlier this year, Lampert put forward a restructuring proposal through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, after flagging it had an impeding debt payment it may not reach.
It has been unclear whether Sears’ current debtholders will continue to support these efforts, which have amounted effectively to restructuring outside of formal bankruptcy proceedings.
Those debtholders must be convinced that Sears is worth more than the value of its assets — namely its real estate and its brands — despite its constant losses. The longer Sears waits to file for bankruptcy, the more the value of its assets arguably decline.
Lampert, who has a controlling ownership stake in Sears, personally owns roughly 31 percent of the retailer’s shares outstanding, while ESL owns about 19 percent.
Sears shares have fallen more than 80 percent so far this year to trade near 57 cents. The stock hit an all-time low of 56 cents earlier this week, bringing Sears’ market cap to $63.8 million.