Lampert’s ESL Fund to Hold Almost Half of Sears Canada Unit

Edward Lampert’s hedge fund has taken an almost 50 percent stake in Sears Canada Inc. after its parent company began a rights offering this week.

ESL Partners and affiliates bought 17.7 million more shares at C$10.50 ($9.50) each for a total stake of 46.7 percent, the Bay Harbor Islands, Florida-based fund said yesterday in a statement. ESL will also exercise its oversubscription privileges to bring its stake up to a maximum of 49.5 percent, the fund said.

Lampert, the chief executive officer and largest shareholder of Sears Holdings Corp., has been selling or spinning off assets to raise cash as he works to transform Sears into a leaner, more digitally focused retailer. Among those divestitures were 40 million shares in the Toronto-based unit earlier this month. Sears said it would retain a 12 percent stake in the division, down from 51 percent.

Sears Canada fell 0.5 percent to C$10.56 at the close in Toronto yesterday. Sears Holdings, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, slid 4.2 percent to $28.41 in New York.

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