Sears shares are surging
Thomson Reuters People walk past the main Sears store in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia
Sears Holdings Corp said it would raise more than $2.5 billion by selling stores to a real estate investment trust it is setting up, in the latest move to shore up its finances.
Sears shares rose 7 percent at $44.22 in premarket trading on Wednesday.
Billionaire Chief Executive Eddie Lampert, who controls nearly half of Sears, has launched a series of unusual transactions, cut costs and sold assets to turn around the company, which has posted losses for the last 11 quarters.
His latest move involves setting up a REIT, Seritage Growth Properties, which will buy and lease back about 254 Sears and Kmart stores. Sears owned or leased 1,725 Sears and Kmart stores as of Jan. 31.
The company said on Wednesday
it would also form a joint venture with mall operator General Growth Properties Inc <GGP.N>, under which it will sell 12 stores to the JV for a 50 percent stake and $165 million in cash.
Sears had disclosed its intentions to sell up to 300 stores to a new REIT in November.
Seritage Growth will launch a rights offering to partially fund the purchase of the stores.
Sears said its shareholders will receive subscription rights, on a pro-rata basis, to buy common shares of Seritage.
Lampert and his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc, who together hold a 48.5 percent stake in Sears, intend to exercise their pro-rata portion of the subscription rights in full.
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
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