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techkenyot.com May 20, 2019


Sears rejects bailout bid, hundreds of stores likely to close

09 January 2019, 02:01 | Hattie Nash

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Sears to ask bankruptcy judge to liquidate

A judge still needs to approve the agreement.

Since Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection October 15, Lampert has been fighting to keep a few hundred Sears and Kmart stores open.

Kmart and Sears merged in November 2004, creating the new retail company Sears Holdings.

Lampert submitted a bid on December 28 and Sears had until Friday to accept it, but the company didn't comment before Tuesday's hearing.

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Lawyers for Lampert and his hedge fund, ESL Investments, were pressing for more time to sweeten his offer.

The 11th hour negotiation is yet another twist in the rocky journey of Sears whose fate has been hanging in the wind, particularly since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 15.

Lampert entered the bid through Transform Holdco LLC, an affiliate of his private equity firm, ESL Investments Inc.

A court hearing is scheduled for today (Jan. 8).

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But it wasn't immediately clear just how much additional cash Lampert will pay for the assets. According to lawyers close to the matter, one of the main sticking points was that the $4.4 bilion bid, which included $1.3 billion in financing from three financial institutions, didn't include cash.

Unsecured creditors have pushed for Sears to liquidate, partially because they contend they will realize a better financial recovery if it does.

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 USA department store operator. The creditors' attorneys question whether the terms of those loans unduly benefited Lampert and his hedge fund rather than Sears.

Image: Sears has been steadily shutting stores, earmarking 262 shops for closure by February this year. In bankruptcy court filings it called Sears previous plans to stay in business "nothing more than wishful thinking " and "an unjustified and foolhardy gamble with other people's money".

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