Tuesday, 22 January, 2019

Sears Takeover Bid Fails, Asks Bankruptcy Judge To Liquidate

Judge gives Eddie Lampert another chance to save Sears Modal Trigger Reuters
Russell Knight | 09 January, 2019, 02:02

The company will pursue liquidation after it couldn't reach a deal with Chairman Edward Lampert on his $4.4 billion takeover bid for the 125-year-old chain. Meanwhile, Lampert also plans to present details of his offer and make the case for renewing efforts to save Sears in bankruptcy court on Tuesday.

Reuters reports the negotiations between Lampert and the company broke down over the structure of his bid, as well as the former CEO's request to not be held liable for actions he took while servicing as the company's chief executive.

It would bring an end to a retail name that goes back to 1893.

Lampert touted his merger of Kmart and Sears as laying the groundwork for their revival, a scenario that did not work out, and had the hedge fund manager relinquishing his role as CEO just after Sears filed for bankruptcy protection last fall. In recent years, Toys "R" Us, RadioShack and Sports Authority have followed that path to the graveyard.

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

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"If Lampert's deal doesn't pay enough cash to pay their fees, they would have concerns", said bankruptcy attorney Kenneth Rosen of Lowenstein Sandler, who represents smaller creditors.

Sears was down almost 94% in the past year.

Sears' lawyers said a revised bid will require Mr Lampert to make a $120m (£94.4m) down payment, through his hedge fund, by 4pm NY time on Wednesday. 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. Those creditors, which include Sears landlords and bondholders, have also questioned Lampert's pre-bankruptcy transactions with the retailer.

If Sears doesn't accept the bid, it will likely have to ask the court for permission to start shutting down the business.

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