Edward S. Lampert isn’t backing away from Sears Holding Corp. so much as investors are walking out on him.
Lampert, who has taken a hands-on role at the company as chief executive officer, acknowledged in a regulatory filing this week that his stake in Sears had fallen to 51.6 million shares, or 48.4 percent of those outstanding. The 51-year-old investor who cut his teeth at Goldman Sachs had been in control of the majority of the retailer, beneficially owning 55.4 percent in March. The turning point seems to have come Monday, when Lampert’s ESL Partners investment vehicle gave 7.4 million shares of Sears — valued at about $450 million at the time — to compensate investors who were pulling money out of the fund. Since then, the stock has fallen 17 percent, closing down 1.9 percent Thursday to $49.98.
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