NEW YORK (Reuters) – Sears is discovering a sale of its house enhancement business following desire from opportunity suitors this kind of as non-public fairness corporations, persons familiar with the make any difference mentioned on Wednesday.

FILE Photo: Consumers are viewed all through Black Friday product sales at a Sears keep in Cutler Bay, Florida, U.S. November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona

The having difficulties U.S. retailer’s Sears Dwelling Providers division has emerged as a coveted asset all through the COVID-19 pandemic, as customers embark on renovations whilst they keep household.

The division is one particular of the department store operator’s few crown jewels following its individual bankruptcy in 2018 and $5.2 billion sale to hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, who was presently its most important shareholder and creditor.

Transformco, the owner of the Sears and Kmart retail chains, could increase at the very least $1 billion by divesting the home advancement company, the sources claimed. Sears has tapped financial commitment bankers at Guggenheim Securities LLC to discover selling the business enterprise, the resources reported.

Transformco could also market a stake in Sears Residence Services and keep some possession of the company, one of the resources said, cautioning that a deal could not occur alongside one another at all.

The sources requested not to be determined mainly because the make a difference is private. Transformco and Guggenheim declined to remark.

Sears Property Companies handles work these kinds of as equipment maintenance, substitute of vinyl siding, roofing and kitchen reworking.

Costco Wholesale Corp (Value.O) before this calendar year obtained Sears’ logistics business Innovel Remedies for $1 billion, enabling the corporation to refinance its money owed. Sears last year also sold its DieHard battery brand to Progress Auto Elements (AAP.N) for $200 million.

Lampert, once Sears’ CEO and chairman, has been slimming down the section shop operator for yrs. When it exited individual bankruptcy in early 2019, the corporation experienced 425 Sears and Kmart areas. By late very last 12 months, the count was down to 182, Reuters claimed.

In April, Sears briefly closed all its shops in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The enterprise ideas to completely near some destinations in the months ahead, bringing its full retailer count, now about 90, to about 65, in accordance to a source familiar with the make any difference.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli and Mike Spector in New York Extra reporting by Rebecca Spalding Modifying by Leslie Adler

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