Sears chairman makes $4.4B bid to save company

Sears. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Miosotis Jade

Dec. 29 (UPI) — Sears received a reprieve from liquidation after chairman Edward Lampert made a $4.4 billion bid to buy it at the last minute.

Lampert submitted the $4.4 billion offer Friday through Transform Holdco, an affiliate of his hedge fund, ESL Investments, just before a 4 p.m. deadline Friday, CNBC first reported.

The offer for 425 Sears stores has a $1.3 billion financial commitment from three financial institutions, ESL said in a Wall Street Journal report.

The 125-year-old company with more than 68,000 employees filed for bankruptcy in October, saying it would close 142 stores, and announced 40 more store closings the next month.

Plans to close 80 additional stores were unveiled Friday, bringing the total number of closings to more than 260, which is over a third of its nearly 700 stores.

The $4.4 billion bid would “offer employment to up to 50,000 associates,” an ESL spokesperson said, while cautioning it would depend on “further actions the company may take between now and closing.”

Sears’ advisers have until Jan. 4 to decide whether ESL is a “qualified bidder” to take part in the Jan. 14 auction against liquidation bids.

Though the bid’s full structure was not immediately determined, if it is similar to a $4.6 billion proposal outlined earlier this month, it could face criticism from the company’s unsecured creditors, who took issue with financing stemming from $1.8 billion in debt Lampert would forgive in a so-called “credit bid.”


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