Sears is exploring a sale of its home improvement business following interest from potential suitors such as private equity firms, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday, Jessica DiNapoli and Mike Spector wrote for Reuters on July 2, 2020.

The struggling US retailer’s Sears Home Services division has emerged as a coveted asset during the COVID-19 pandemic, as consumers embark on renovations while they stay home. The division is one of the department store operator’s few crown jewels following its bankruptcy in 2018 and $5.2 billion sale to hedge fund manager Eddie Lampert, who was already its biggest shareholder and creditor.

Transformco, the owner of the Sears and Kmart retail chains, could raise at least $1 billion by divesting the home improvement business, the sources said. Sears has tapped investment bankers at Guggenheim Securities LLC to explore selling the business, the sources said. Transformco could also sell a stake in Sears Home Services and retain some ownership of the business, one of the sources said, cautioning that a deal may not come together at all.

Sears Home Services handles work such as appliance repair, replacement of vinyl siding, roofing and kitchen remodeling. Costco Wholesale Corp. earlier this year acquired Sears’ logistics business Innovel Solutions for $1 billion, allowing the firm to refinance its debts. Sears last year also sold its DieHard battery brand to Advance Auto Parts for $200 million.

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