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Lampert Hedge Fund Cut CIT, Seagate Stakes Last Quarter

Billionaire Edward Lampert took advantage of surging stock prices during the first quarter to cut stakes that his hedge fund holds in Capital One Financial Corp., CIT Group Inc. and Seagate Technology Plc.

RBS Partners LP held 661,495 CIT Group shares as of March 31, according to a Form 13 filed today with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, down from 5.13 million shares at the end of last year. The New York-based commercial lender’s shares rose more than 18 percent during the first quarter.

Lampert’s hedge fund cut its Seagate stake to 1.02 million shares at March 31 from 6.98 million shares at year end, according to filing, while the money manager’s holdings in Capital One fell to 4.48 million shares from 5.09 million. Seagate soared more than 64 percent during the first quarter, while Capital One rose almost 32 percent.

The firm also reduced its stake in Big Lots Inc. to 545,772 shares from 1.65 million during the first quarter.

RBS Partners, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, is a management entity for Lampert’s primary hedge fund, ESL Partners LP. RBS disclosed that the total value of its U.S. traded equities was $6.48 billion at March 31 compared with $5.72 billion at Dec. 31.

Lampert disclosed that his controlling stake in Sears Holdings Corp. declined to 43 million shares as of March 31 from 48 million shares as of Dec. 31. The decline may stem from changes in Lampert’s management contracts with clients rather than outright sales, which he would have had to disclose during the quarter in insider reports.

Lampert is also the chairman of Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Sears, which he acquired through an $11.9 billion merger with Kmart Holding Corp. in 2005.

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