Sears chairman makes last-minute bid to save 126-year-old company

Eddie Lampert May Have Kept Himself From Winning Sears BidMore

Eddie Lampert May Have Kept Himself From Winning Sears BidMore

The deal would keep 425 of the stores open. It is still possible that those wishing to shutdown the company will bid more for the assets than Lampert is offering.

Mr Lampert, who is Sears' largest shareholder, bid for the USA chain through an affiliate of his ESL hedge fund, offering to keep 425 stores open and save tens of thousands of jobs, according to the court hearing.

It also closes the curtain on Kmart, which is owned by Sears Holdings.

Lawyers representing Sears Holdings told a bankruptcy judge Tuesday that former CEO Eddie Lampert's bid to buy the assets wasn't adequate and said it wants to proceed with plans to liquidate, according to several published reports.

Sears Holdings Corp agreed on Tuesday to consider a revised takeover bid from Chairman Edward Lampert, temporarily staving off a liquidation that would have spelled the end of the 126-year-old US department store operator.

Lampert had submitted a bid on December 28.

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday in bankruptcy court. Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments, will now be required to pay a $120 million deposit by 4 p.m. Wednesday. Transform Holdco, a new entity controlled by ESL, said in a letter to Sears' investment banker that it believes keeping the Hoffman Estates-based retailer in business is the best way to preserve jobs and recover money the retailer owes.

Many of Sears' major creditors have said they want the company to liquidate.

Under Lampert, Sears has bought time over the years by spinning off stores and putting on the block the brands that had grown synonymous with the company, such as Craftsman. Those creditors, which include Sears landlords and bondholders, have also questioned Lampert's pre-bankruptcy transactions with the retailer.

The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway warned 13 years ago, during a conversation he had in 2005 with students from the University of Kansas, that Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert's venture in merging Sears and Kmart was unlikely to succeed, as first reported by Business Insider.

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