Shares of Seritage Growth Properties, the real estate spinoff from Sears Holdings Corp., increased 3 percent to $37.10 in the first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Trading, under the ticker symbol “SRG,” began following the completion of the rights offering that distributed shares of the real estate investment trust to Sears shareholders on a pro rata basis.
As part of Sears chairman and chief executive officer Edward Lampert’s plan to bolster the retailer’s liquidity, nearly 53.3 million shares of the new entity’s Class A common stock were sold, raising $1.6 billion that will be applied to the $2.72 billion used to acquire 235 properties and 31 joint ventures interests from Sears. That purchase is expected to take place on Tuesday. Seritage is then expected to lease back all but 11 of the properties to Sears under specific terms, including Seritage’s right to recapture certain space from Sears at each property.
Included in the Seritage portfolio are 140 Sears stores and 84 Kmart units.
The deadline to accept the rights offering was July 2 and the offering was oversubscribed, Sears said.
Sears unveiled the plan for the Seritage REIT in April, at which time it entered into a joint venture with General Growth Properties for 12 Sears properties located at General Growth Malls. General Growth made a cash contribution of $165 million in exchange for a 50 percent interest in in the joint venture. Seritage also has joint venture arrangements for 10 properties with Simon Property Group and nine properties with Macerich.
Sears’ shares fell 2.8 percent Monday to $24.81.
Retailers have become more interested in unlocking the value of their real estate assets in recent months, with The Bon-Ton Stores late last month entering into a sale-leaseback agreement with REIT CPA: 17 — Global for six retail properties for $84 million as part of a plan to pay off a mortgage loan facility that would have matured in April.
Leaving Sears’ overall corporate rating unchanged at its current “CCC-plus” level, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services last week raised its ratings on two series of the retailer’s notes to “B-minus.” The ratings agency said the upgrades stemmed “primarily from an increase in our valuation of Sears’ real estate portfolio (the stores that Sears will continue to own after the real estate investment trust transaction closes) and our inclusion of the [Sears-owned] Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands as additional sources of recovery value for Sears’ creditors.”