Sears Shares Rise on Lampert Stock Purchase

Analysts speculate that Sears' chairman may take the chain private

By Christopher Freeburn, InvestorPlace Writer

Shares of Sears Holding (NASDAQ:SHLD) jumped in Thursday trading after Securities & Exchange Commission filings revealed that the company’s chairman had acquired another 2.39 million shares in the troubled retail chain.

Investors seized on the report as potential sign that Edward Lampert might be planning to take the company private. Sears shares rose more than 7% in afternoon trading.

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That reverses the decline Sears stock saw after it was removed from the S&P 500 in late August, the Chicago Tribune noted. The company had been listed on the S&P 500 since the index launched in 1957.

Lampert has run Sears for almost seven years. During the time, the company has shed assets in the face of dwindling sales.

The newly disclosed share purchases raise Lampert’s stake to 62%. He owns 23.4 million shares in his own name. He controls another 35.3 million shares through private equity firms.

Last month, Sears reported a $132 million loss for the second quarter, less than the $146 million it lost during the same time in 2011. Sales for the quarter also declined relative to last year, off 6.6% and missing analysts’ forecasts.

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