Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Sears Rejects Lampert’s Takeover Bid, Will Liquidate 126-Year-Old Retail Icon

End may be near for iconic retailers Sears Kmart The outline of a logo sign at a closed Sears retail store in Selinsgrove Pa
Orlando Vargas | 09 January, 2019, 03:41

It gives Sears a chance to survive, which appeared to be slipping way heading into the hearing.

Lampert's latest attempt to rescue Sears came after his previous US$4.4 billion bid fell short, prompting the retailer to make liquidation preparations ahead of bankruptcy court hearing in NY on Tuesday.

A judge still needs to approve the agreement.

The revised bid is not official, and will be evaluated in an auction on January 14 that will compete with other bids from liquidators who are looking to shut down the company.

Lampert's bid said he plans to offer jobs to 50,000 Sears and Kmart employees.

The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway warned 13 years ago, during a conversation he had in 2005 with students from the University of Kansas, that Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert's venture in merging Sears and Kmart was unlikely to succeed, as first reported by Business Insider.

Abid Qureshi, an attorney representing a committee of Sears' creditors, said they had not been included in those negotiations and continued to have "significant concerns" about ESL's bid.

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Lampert, though, protested the decision, highlighting the extensive costs of Sears' bankruptcy advisors, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC.

One of the most storied companies in American history may have just days left to live, as Sears Holdings Corp has rejected Chairman Eddie Lampert's takeover bid and intends to proceed with liquidation proceedings. Under changes in the bid reached in negotiations, he will have until Wednesday afternoon to make a $120 million cash payment. Those creditors, which include Sears landlords and bondholders, have also questioned Lampert's pre-bankruptcy transactions with the retailer.

Lampert had submitted a bid on December 28.

Lampert and his hedge fund argue the loans were proper and made to keep Sears alive.

"We would rather look for easier things to do", he said.

Stowell, speaking shortly before the Tuesday hearing, said he wouldn't be surprised to see Lampert sweeten his offer before the bankruptcy auction.

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

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