Sears forms committee for sale of Kenmore, home improvement unit

FILE PHOTO: A Sears logo is seen at a store in Schaumburg, Illinois, September 23, 2013. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

(Reuters) - Struggling department store operator Sears Holdings Corp SHLD.O said on Monday it has formed a special committee to explore the sale of its Kenmore appliances brand, home improvement products and parts direct business.

Shares of the retailer rose as much as 19 percent to $4.08 in morning trading.

Billionaire investor Eddie Lampert had last month asked the company’s board to sell these assets, adding that his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc would bid in any sale.

ESL had bid $500 million for the home improvement and parts direct and said it planned to table a bid for Kenmore and the chain’s real estate assets.

Lampert, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the company, had said he would excuse himself from any discussions or decisions for any potential transaction involving ESL as a buyer.

Lampert owns 30 percent of the company, while his hedge fund has 19 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The company’s board on Monday formed a committee of independent directors to evaluate ESL’s proposal and to seek other offers.

Centerview Partners is Sears’ investment banker and Weil, Gotshal and Manges its legal counsel.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur