Tickers in this Article: SHLD, AZO, AN, BRK.A, BRK.B
Patient, value-seeking investors have an excellent investment opportunity today in Sears Holdings (Nasdaq:SHLD) - if they can look beyond the trees and see the forest. While it is indeed true that Sears currently operates as a retailer, investors may be missing the boat if they ignore this company based on this premise alone. IN PICTURES: World's Greatest Investors

Focus on the Jockey, Not the Horse
The most important consideration regarding Sears is Chairman Eddie Lampert. Since his days as a hedge fund manager in his early 20s, Eddie has proved to be a brilliant capital allocator and businessman. And if he wasn't in charge of Sears, I wouldn't be writing this article.

In addition to his brilliance, Lampert owns more than 50% of Sears' shares, many of which were bought at prices that vastly exceed Sears' share price today.

Heads You Win Big, Tails You Lose Little
Aside from management, Lampert is a fan and student of Warren Buffett. Why is this important? Back in the 1970s, there was a Massachusetts textile mill by the name of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A, BRK.B), which was run by a young man from Omaha named Warren Buffett. While Buffett was working to fix the textile business, he was deploying excess capital and buying other businesses while buying up shares in Berkshire. Still, Mr. Market continued to view Berkshire as a textile company.

Today, you have Sears Holdings, a retailer that is majority-owned by its chairman, who also happens to own nearly 40% of auto parts retailer AutoZone (NYSE:AZO) and 45% of used-car giant AutoNation (NYSE:AN). Recently, Lampert reported selling 450,000 shares in AutoZone and has filed to sell more than $500 million worth. Still, Lampert will own more than $2.5 billion in AutoZone after the sale. Considering the stock has more than doubled since he bought it, it's likely the sale was precipitated to raise capital cheaply, rather than as a result of lack of confidence in the stock. In addition, like AutoZone and AutoNation, Sears' locations are located on some of most valuable parcels of commercial real estate in the country. All of these valuable assets are under the control and stewardship of Eddie Lampert, and should have investors excited at today's share price of $60.

Like Buffett, Lampert is doing everything he can to keep Sears as it is, in consideration of the thousands of employees that depend on the company. However, Lampert has options for the long-term and patient investors will very likely be rewarded for betting on him. The problem is that many investors look at the performance of the stock price over the past couple of years and grade Lampert on that metric alone. That's a mistake. Lampert is a long-term investor and by that I mean decades, not two or three recessionary years. (For further reading, see The Greatest Investors Tutorial.)

The Bottom Line
The marketplace has counted Warren Buffett out on numerous occasions, but he has always had the last laugh. The same is happening with Lampert today, and I think those who bet against him are in for a very rude awakening. After all, we are still in the third inning of Lampert's saga with Sears.

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