Sears-Affiliated Real Estate Investment Trust Raises $1.6 Billion

If you’ve always secretly wanted to be the partial landlord of a Sears or Kmart store, you have some unusual and specific life goals. You can also achieve your goal as of this week. The real estate investment trust spun off from Sears Holdings, Seritage Growth Properties, is now selling shares to the public, and the offering has been successful so far, raising more than $1.6 billion.

Seritage lets the management of Sears do two things: raise some cash to help the retailer, which is still losing money as well as losing Kardashians, and perhaps attract some investors who don’t see the value in Sears, but do see the value in the company’s real estate. Shares were initially offered to current Sears Holdings investors, and are now available on the New York Stock Exchange.

Some investors and observers, including some shareholders who filed a recent class action lawsuit, have speculated that the company’s long-term strategy involves running a nominal retail business while waiting for the real estate market to turn around.

Not so, CEO Eddie Lampert says: in a recent statement he explained that the REIT cash infusion will help the company in its journey from being a legacy department store to its future as a “a more asset-light, member-centric integrated retailer.” Sears still trying to run a successful, if slimmed-down, retail business, and that’s why they’re selling real estate as well as closing some stores.

Seritage Shares Rise in Market Debut, Raises $1.6 Billion in Rights Offering [Wall Street Journal]

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