Sears agrees to consider revised takeover bid, staving off liquidation for now

09 January, 2019, 16:15 | Author: Eric Barnett
  • Sears to ask bankruptcy judge to liquidate

He called the expectation of a revised bid from Lampert a "good development" that could allow Sears to "survive as a going concern, at least in part". A subsidiary of B. Riley Financial, Great American partnered with Tiger past year to buy many of bankrupt retailer Bon-Ton Stores' assets and liquidate the company. The attorney, Ray Schrock of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, did not disclose further details of the new offer, which materialized after what he described as several days of round-the-clock negotiations.

The reprieve came Tuesday after what Sears lawyers described to a bankruptcy judge in NY as "round-the-clock" negotiations following the company board's initial rejection of Eddie Lampert's proposal, which would preserve 425 stores and 50,000 workers.

It was America's largest retailer by revenue until 1989, when Walmart overtook it.

A court hearing is scheduled for today (Jan. 8). Drain said other parties could submit new or improved bids, and Sears' financial advisers would let them know if they would be considered at the auction. 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. Lampert, though, protested the decision, highlighting the extensive costs of Sears' bankruptcy advisors, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC.

Lampert, via his hedge fund - ESL Investments - had cobbled together a $4.4 billion offer for the 126-year-old retailer, but Sears has reportedly rejected that offer. Those creditors, which include Sears landlords and bondholders, have also questioned Lampert's pre-bankruptcy transactions with the retailer. Lampert, who retains the title of chairman, and his ESL own just under half of the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, company, according to FactSet.

Sears' agreement to reconsider Lampert's offer tables for now controversies that pushed the retailer to the brink. Sears' last profitable year was 2010 and it has lost $12 billion since then. Even as Sears' brick and mortar competitors established effective e-commerce operations Sears - a pioneer in catalog sales - failed to do so.



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