Eddie Lampert has just filled a form 4 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which shows that Lampert has increased his stake in Sears. Lampert purchased close to 2.4 million shares at a price of $52.75 for his own personal portfolio. Between Lampert’s own portfolio and his hedge fund, ESL Investors LLC, Lampert now owns 64% of Sears. The total value of shares purchased is approximately $130 million.
Shares of the troubled retailer rose over 10% on news of the purchase. Shares closed in today’s trading at $57.37. Earlier this week, Sears was de-listed from the S&P 500 after failing to meet the 50% threshold, causing shares to drop over 5% on the news. The company has been struggling lately, and until yesterday, had its debt rated at Junk levels. Analysts expect Sears to face further problems as The Home Depot, Inc. (NYSE:HD) rolls out Whirlpool to about 150 stores.
Earlier this year, Sears announced its largest loss in nine years, after posting $2.4 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter.
ESL Investors, Lampert’s hedge fund, appears to have sold the shares to Eddie Lampert himself.
Avi Salzman of Barrons, notes that “Sears fell out of the S&P 500 on the same day that Lampert sold, which may have triggered a defensive buy by Lampert.”
Salzman states further, that the move might be related to the upcoming spinoff of Sears Hometown.
Besides being the largest shareholder of Sears shares, Lampert is also the largest holder of AutoNation, Inc. (NYSE:AN) equity.
A Spokesperson for Lampert declined to comment on the matter.
(Disclosure: No position in any securities mentioned)