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article imageSears barely avoids liquidation with a last-minute bid

By Karen Graham     Dec 30, 2018 in Business
A last-minute bid on Friday gave Sears a chance to stave off complete liquidation, but the company still announced that 80 Sears and Kmart stores across the country would close by March.
Just before the 4 p.m. deadline on Friday, Chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a bid for $4.4 billion through an ESL affiliate, Transform Holdco, for 425 of Sears' stores, according to Forbes.
A spokesperson for ESL Investments, in a statement on Friday, said it has a $1.3 billion financing commitment from investment banks. The bid would "offer employment to up to 50,000 associates." The statement cautioned that it would depend on "further actions the company may take between now and closing." It would also reinstate severance protections for "eligible employees."
The Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October. At the time, it had 687 stores and 68,000 workers. Earlier on Friday, Sears said it was closing 80 more stores. That’s in addition to the 182 stores already slated for closure, including 142 by the end of 2018 and 40 by February.
The last-minute bid may help in diverting liquidation, if only temporarily. The full structure of Lampert's bid has not been made public but should be revealed in a few days. If it is similar to his proposal made earlier this month, it will likely face pushback from the company's unsecured investors.
As it stands right now, the company's advisers will decide by Jan. 4 whether it makes sense to accept the ESL offer over one of the offers to liquidate.
More about sears, liquidation, eddie lampert, Transform Holdco, ESL Investments
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