Sears to move on Restoration Hardware

Sears Holdings Corp., the parent of retailers Sears and Kmart retail stores, has bought a 13.9% stake in Restoration Hardware Inc. and is considering a possible takeover, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission document filed last week. The move could pave the way for a bidding war for the Corte Madera, Calif., specialty home furnishings retailer.

The development comes less than two weeks after Restoration Hardware agreed to be taken private following its $267 million sale on Nov. 8 to private equity firm Catterton Partners.

The SEC filing states that Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears acquired 5.3 million Restoration Hardware shares for more than $30 million. Sears said it may make a tender offer for all of Restoration Hardware’s shares or raise its stake by buying additional shares on the open market. It may also seek to “acquire or influence control” of the company, “including seeking representation on the board,” according to the filing.

Sears, whose chairman is well known hedge fund investor Edward Lampert, said in the filing that it bought 1.6 million shares on the Nasdaq Stock Market Nov. 8—the same day Catterton agreed to buy the company—and another $1.8 million on Nov. 12. Catterton’s offer of $6.70 per share, which must still be approved by Restoration Hardware shareholders, represented a premium of nearly two and a half times the company’s share price before the deal was made. —Associated Press