Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores Sold to Liberty Tax

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Lease-to-own retailer Sears Hometown has been saved from potential failure through a $133 million acquisition by tax preparation firm Liberty Tax, which has been on a buying spree of distressed businesses this summer as it expands into the world of franchise retail and rent-to-own.

The acquisition also nixed a $121 million offer earlier this summer from Transform Holdco, headed by former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, as that merger allowed Sears Hometown to entertain other offers.

“We’re excited about the acquisition of Sears Outlet and its unique model that offers its customers in-store and online access to outlet-value products across a broad assortment of merchandise categories, while serving as a valuable supply chain partner for its vendors,” said Andrew Laurence, chairman of Liberty Tax in a release. “This is a continuation of Liberty Tax’s strategy of identifying and acquiring franchised businesses while also building scale at attractive acquisition valuations.”

Indeed, this follows Liberty Tax’s June acquisition of The Vitamin Shoppe and its 785 stores for $208 million, and its July acquisition of rent-to-own retailer Buddy’s Home Furnishings and its 300 stores for $80 million. In this new transaction Liberty Tax picked up an additional 41 Buddy’s locations from franchisee A-Team Leasing. As part of the convoluted deal, A-Team will become a franchisee of five Sears Outlet locations.

So, all in all, quite a summer.

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