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Advance Auto Parts Rises on DieHard Purchase

Retailer gains iconic brand as Sears continues to dump assets.
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Shares of Advance Auto Parts  (AAP) - Get Advance Auto Parts Inc. Report rose 1% after it announced that it was buying Sears’ DieHard battery unit for $200 million in cash.

The auto retailer gains an iconic, 52-year-old brand that it hopes will attract consumers to its almost 5,000 stores.

“We are excited to acquire global ownership of an iconic American brand,” Advance Auto Parts CEO Tom Greco said in a statement.

“DieHard will help differentiate Advance, drive increased DIY [do-it-yourself] customer traffic . DieHard has the highest brand awareness and regard of any automotive battery brand in North America,” he added.

Sears has struggled for years as consumers have flocked to more modern retailers and online purchases. The company filed for bankruptcy last year and is hemorrhaging cash. The deal allows Transformco, which owns Sears and Kmart, to sell some DieHard products in Sears.

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Privately held Transformco also will receive an exclusive, royalty-free perpetual license to develop, market and sell DieHard products in non-automotive categories.

Transformco is led by hedge fund billionaire Eddie Lampert, who joined Sears as CEO in 2013.

He was unable to stanch the company’s decline, and it has been unloading assets and closing stores for several years in a failed effort to stabilize.

Sears forged an agreement with  (AMZN) - Get Inc. Report in December 2017 for the online retail giant to sell some DieHard products. That partnership will end, and Advance will try to replace Amazon with some of its other retail partners, including Walmart  (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report, Greco told CNBC.

Advance Auto Parts shares rose 1.09% to $159.85. The stock has gained 7.3% over the past year.

(The author of this story owns shares of Walmart).