Time is running out for Sears; bankruptcy hearing Tuesday

Sears to Liquidate After Takeover Bid Falls Through

National The end of Sears? Company plans for liquidation, reports say Scripps National 9:16 AM

Parent company Sears Holdings had a deadline this past Friday to accept a $4 billion bid from the hedge fund run by its chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert.

Eddie Lampert has made another bid to save Sears.

The reprieve came 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 sought to preserve 425 stores and 50,000 workers. Store closings continued throughout 2017 and 2018, with Sears Holdings declaring bankruptcy in mid-October 2018.

Sears has not said how many other offers it received or whether any others would let the retailer avoid liquidation.

Lampert's bid proposed forgiving $1.3 billion of debt he holds in exchange for ownership of the reconstituted Sears, a bankruptcy maneuver known as a credit bid. 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.

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In addition, Lampert wanted a release from legal exposure related to a series of transactions he completed with the retailer before it filed for bankruptcy protection.

Sears received another lifeline Tuesday when the company's chairman and largest shareholder promised to line up the necessary financing to keep the struggling department store chain afloat.

The iconic retailer gradually lost its shine, however, as consumers turned to e-commerce and brick-and-mortar rivals such as Walmart Inc and Target Corp.

The creditors have argued that forgiveness of his debt should not be accepted as part of the bid, because Lampert loaned Sears the money when he was CEO. It is still possible that those wishing to shutdown the company will bid more for the assets than Lampert is offering.

As late as Monday night, the company had told involved parties it was planning to announce a liquidation before the market opened on Tuesday in NY, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

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