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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sears shares jump on report of bids for Craftsman brand

By Lauren Zumbach Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO – Sears Holdings’ shares jumped after a report that the company’s Craftsman brand has attracted interest from potential bidders.

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that potential bidders include Stanley Black & Decker and Hong Kong’s Techtronic Industries, with final offers due at the end of the month. People with knowledge of the matter said bids may value Craftsman at about $2 billion, according to the report.

U.S.-based Apex Tool Group and Sweden’s Husqvarna also have explored possible offers, the report said.

Sears spokesman Howard Riefs said the company doesn’t comment on “rumor or speculation.”

Sears’ shares, which had spiked as much as 18 percent Tuesday morning, closed up 6.2 percent at $12.08.

In May, Sears, headquartered in suburban Chicago, said it was “exploring alternatives” for its staple Craftsman tool brand, along with its Kenmore, DieHard and Sears Home Services businesses, believing they could perform better if more widely available outside Sears stores.

During an earnings call in August, Chief Financial Officer Rob Schriesheim said Sears was still considering options.

So far, leveraging those brands has meant lending their names to new product categories launched this summer, including Craftsman paints, Kenmore televisions and DieHard tires.

Stanley Black & Decker and Techtronic could not immediately be reached for comment.

New Britain, Conn.-based Stanley Black & Decker claims to be the world’s largest tools and storage company. Techtronic makes Dirt Devil, Hoover and Oreck vacuum cleaners as well as Milwaukee and Ryobi power tools, Stiletto hammers and Homelite chain saws.