Sears is getting another reprieve from liquidation after its chairman and largest shareholder revised his bid to save the iconic brand.
The retailer says it has accepted Eddie Lampert's bid through an affiliate of his ESL hedge fund that could keep 425 stores open and save tens of thousands of workers, according to a hearing on Tuesday at the bankruptcy court in White Plains, N.Y. The bid now requires Lampert to deposit $120 million by 4 p.m. Wednesday through his hedge fund.
The revised bid is not official, and will be evaluated in an auction set for Jan. 14 that will compete with other bids from liquidators looking to shut it down.
Sears filed for bankruptcy protection last October.
The retailer that began as a mail order catalog in the 1880s has been in a slow death spiral, hobbled by the Great Recession and then overwhelmed by rivals both down the street and across the internet.
Sears Holdings Corp., which also runs Kmart, joins the list of retail brands taken over by hedge funds that collapsed under the weight of debt forced upon them. Not all have made it out of bankruptcy: Toys R Us shuttered all its stores in June, about nine months after filing for bankruptcy protection.
Under Lampert, Sears has bought time by spinning off businesses and putting on the block the brands that had grown synonymous with the company, such as Craftsman. The company's chairman and biggest shareholder, Lampert loaned out his own money and put together deals to keep the company afloat and to turn whatever profit he could for ESL hedge fund.
The Associated Press contributed to this report