Sears to Liquidate After Takeover Bid Falls Through

New York City. If the bankrupt retail chain does not accept the only bid to save it it could be forced to start the process of shutting down as soon

Sears to Liquidate After Takeover Bid Falls Through Spencer Platt Getty Images8 Jan 2019

Still, it marks the end of an era for the company that started more than a century ago as Sears, Roebuck & Co., and was once nation's largest retailer.

Sears Holdings Corp, the parent of Sears and Kmart, will ask a federal bankruptcy judge in NY whether it can move to liquidation after failing to reach a buyer, casting doubt on the survival of a department store that has been a fixture in the United States for more than a century.

A main point of contention in the negotiations between Lampert and Sears previously centered on whether Lampert's bid fully addressed the bankruptcy costs that Sears has racked up, according to sources familiar with the matter. Store closings continued throughout 2017 and 2018, with Sears Holdings declaring bankruptcy in mid-October 2018.

Former Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, through a hedge fund he controls, attempted to rescue the venerable retailer, bidding $4.4 billion for the firm, which declared bankruptcy in October.

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The retailer did not respond to an email inquiry from National Jeweler by press time, while ESL investments declined to comment when contacted Monday.

Retail expert Burt Flickinger discusses how Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert is trying to buy the company out of bankruptcy. After several days of "virtually round-the-clock negotiations", Sears agreed to compare a revised version of Lampert's bid at the bankruptcy auction, Schrock said.

If Sears doesn't accept the $4.4 billion bid, Transform Holdco said it also would bid individually on some assets, including real estate, certain intellectual property and the Sears Home Services business.

Drain said that Sears will consider Lampert's offer versus a potential liquidation during a bankruptcy auction on January 14.

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Mr Lampert, who is Sears' largest shareholder, bid for the U.S. chain through an affiliate of his ESL hedge fund, offering to keep 425 stores open and save tens of thousands of jobs, according to the court hearing.

Lampert's offer did not include putting up cash to back the credit bid.

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.

Sears was down almost 94% in the past year.

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But critics say Lampert let the stores deteriorate over the years, even as he bought the company's stock and lent it money.

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