Sears Starts Process to Explore Sale of Assets; Shares Surge

(Bloomberg) -- Sears Holdings Corp. will explore the possible sale of several assets, including its Kenmore brand, as Chief Executive Officer Edward Lampert aims to salvage what’s left of the struggling retailer.

ESL Investments Inc., the hedge fund run by Lampert, last month urged the company to sell the Kenmore brand and other business units, noting at the time that it would be interested in acquiring them. Sears said in a statement Monday that a special committee of the board of directors is initiating a formal process to explore the asset sales.

Shares surged as much as 15 percent to $3.93 before the start of regular trading in New York. Sears stock was down 4.5 percent this year through Friday’s close.

The once-dominant retailer has faced an uphill battle trying to restore its former glory. For years, Lampert has used his own money to keep Sears afloat amid declines in store traffic and sales. The company has closed hundreds of stores and shaved more than $1 billion from annual expenses.

Sears Starts Process to Explore Sale of Assets; Shares Surge

The special committee, which consists only of independent directors, will evaluate ESL’s proposal, solicit third-party interest in the assets and explore “any other alternatives with respect to the sale assets that may maximize value for the company,” Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears said.

The retailer has retained Centerview Partners LLC to serve as its investment banker and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP as its legal counsel, it said.

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