The chairman of Sears Holding Corporation, billionaire hedge fund manager Edward Lampert, is betting that the housing and credit markets will recover sooner than later.
In a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lampert disclosed that he owned 747,500 shares of Centex Homes’ stock and 605,000 shares of KB Home. He had initiated the purchase of those builders’ stocks during the quarter that ended March 31. Centex, the third-largest builder in the U.S., has 123.5 million shares outstanding and its stock price closed at $13.96 per share on June 11. KB Home, the country’s fifth-largest builder, has 77.4 million shares outstanding and its stock price closed at $17.87 per share that day.
Lampert also acquired about four million shares of CIT Group, a subprime mortgage and commercial lender; and 1.4 million shares of PHH Corp., a mortgage originator and mortgage-service company. The shares are valued at about $35.5 million and $25.2 million, respectively.
Recently, Lampert increased his stake in Home Depot by 36 percent to 22.7 million shares. Depot, with nearly 1.7 billion shares outstanding, was trading at $25.91 per share at the close of June 11.
Lampert made these purchases through ESL, the $11.6 billion fund he controls. The transactions were first reported by the Wall Street Journal. A few weeks before this disclosure about his purchases, Sears Holding Corporation reported a $56 million first-quarter loss on revenue of $11.1 billion that was down 6 percent.