UPDATE (Thursday, Jan. 10 at 3 p.m.) Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert has confirmed a new bid of more than $5 billion through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, in an effort to save Sears from heading down the path to liquidation. , Bloomberg reported. The new bid will be reviewed at the next bankruptcy auction on Jan. 14.
UPDATE (Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 3 p.m.): A bankruptcy judge has decided to give Sears chairman Eddie Lampert another chance to take Sears out of bankruptcy, saving 50,000 jobs, CNBC reported. Originally, Sears Holdings had planned to reject Lampert’s bid through his investment firm, ESL Investments and head down the path to liquidation. ESL worked to improve the offer citing advisory fees Sears had gained through the bankruptcy process.
ESL is now required to pay a $120 million deposit by 4 p.m. Wednesday. Sears is allowing Lampert to participate in a previously scheduled auction Monday and compare Lampert’s bid to others by liquidators, CNBC said.
Sears is planning to close 80 more stores across the U.S. in March, with the possibility of liquidating the business entirely.
CNBC reported that Sears employees were told before the New Year that it plans to shutter another batch of Kmart and Sears stores in addition to those already announced.
When Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October it had 700 stores remaining. The company said then it would close 142 unprofitable stores by the end of the year. Soon after, Sears announced it would close an additional 40 stores.
CNBC said that Sears told workers it expects to begin liquidation sales at the 80 stores starting now.
CNN reported that Sears chairman Eddie Lampert and its largest creditor met a deadline as a potential buyer of hundreds of stores and other assets. Lampert’s plan would keep 425 stores open and cut the price he was willing to pay by $200 million to $4.4 billion.
Lampert would also offer jobs to as many as 50,000 employees. He has reportedly received $1.3 billion in loan commitments from three financial institutions.