Sears CEO makes offer to spin off store divisions for funding

File photo by Roger L. Wollenberg/UPI

April 23 (UPI) — Hedge fund manager and Sears CEO Eddie Lampert has offered to buy some of the department store’s businesses to raise funds for the struggling company.

In an April 20 letter, Lampert proposed that his company, ESL Investments, buy Sears’ home improvement and Parts Direct mail-order parts divisions, which ESL values at $500 million.

It added that he would consider buying Sears’ Kenmore appliance brand, “would be open to making an offer on Sears’ real estate” and could assume $1.2 billion in Sears’ real estate debt.

Company stock shares rose 8 percent in early morning trading Monday. Its stock was valued at $3.05 per share late Monday morning. It traded at $14 per share one year ago and at $30 per share when Lampert became CEO in 2015.

“We understand that Sears has marketed certain of these assets for nearly two years but, with the exception of the Craftsman divestiture, has been unable to reach agreement with potential purchasers on acceptable terms,” the letter, posted on Sears’ website Monday, said.

The infusion of cash would be valuable to the company, which has seen sales fall from $53 billion in 2006 to $26.7 billion in 2017, in pulling back from the brink of bankruptcy.

Some have argued the strategy will give customers fewer reasons to visit the store.


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