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article imageSears could sell some or all of its stores in Canada

By Nathan Salant     May 14, 2014 in Business
Hoffman Estates - Sears Holdings Corp is considering selling its controlling stake in Sears Canada, which could mean all of the department store operator's 400 Canadian locations are for sale.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Sears Holding said it would hire an investment banking firm to help it in "exploring strategic alternatives" for Sears Canada, including selling its stake or selling the entire company.
"Sears Canada's board of directors has advised Sears Holdings that Sears Canada's board and management intend to cooperate fully with Sears Holdings in this process to achieve value for all shareholders," the statement said.
The announcement had a positive effect on Sears Canada shares, which rose 4.7 percent in midday trading while shares in Sears Holding fell nearly 1 percent, according to the Reuters news service.
Sears Canada operates 176 Sears and 234 Hometown stores, in addition to 1,400 catalog and online pick-up locations, 97 travel offices and auto service shops across the country, Reuters said.
Sears Holdings is controlled by hedge fund billionaire Eddie Lampert, whose KMart discount store chain merged with Sears in 2005.
There are around 1,000 Sears stores in the United States.
Expected bidders for Sears Canada include major property owners and pension funds attracted to the chain's mall space, as well as private equity and retail turnaround specialists, Desjardins Securities analyst Keith Howlett told Reuters.
Of course, other U.S. department store operators such as Macy's and Kohl's Corp, or Canadian operators such as Hudson's Bay Co., also are expected to join the bidding, Howlett said.
Sears Canada has a market value of $1.5 billion, Reuters said.
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