ESL thinks about Kmart exit

Tue Jul 1, 2003

Eddie Lampert caused quite a stir this spring with his investment in discount retailer Kmart. According to SEC filings, Lampert and his firm ESL Investments now control 52 million shares of Kmart, or 51 percent, following the emergence of the retail chain from Chapter 11-bankruptcy protection on May 6. That stake, which cost Lampert an estimated $600 million to $700 million, barely budged during Kmart's first month of post-bankruptcy, over-the-counter trading. Investors were skeptical that Kmart was any better positioned to compete with rivals Wal-Mart and Target than it had been when the troubled retailer had filed for bankruptcy 16 months earlier.

On June 10, however, market sentiment turned. Kmart shares started to take off following the company's NASDAQ listing. Within a week and a half, its share price had soared from $15 to $25, helped at least in part by its very thin float as short sellers rushed to...

ISSN: 2151-1845 / CDC10004H

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