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Sears to Liquidate After Takeover Bid Falls Through

09 January 2019

"ESL is the largest creditor of Sears, and their offer includes a credit bid of $1.8 billion of the debt they hold - that's something that might be problematic going forward", Sarah Foss, a legal analyst at Debtwire told CBS MoneyWatch in December.

Sears Holdings Corp agreed on Tuesday to consider a revised takeover bid from Chairman Edward Lampert, temporarily staving off a liquidation that would have spelled the end of the 126-year-old US department store operator. That represent an increase of more than 125 percent from the daily low of $0.153 which they set on the news that Sears would reject the takeover bid from Lampert and ESL. According to Reuters' sources, the bid fell short.

Lampert's ESL Investments said late last month it was prepared to pay $4.4 billion for numerous retailer's remaining assets, including about 425 Sears and Kmart stores.

Sears' bankruptcy attorney said on Tuesday the retailer will move forward with its planned auction, set for January 14, averting liquidation plans that were supposed to be announced earlier in the day.

Sears was down almost 94% in the past year.

Once America's largest department store chain, Sears had 687 stores and 68,000 workers by the time the Illinois-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.

The deal was reached after days of "virtually round-the-clock negotiations", Sears attorney Ray Schrock told the court.

The bid now requires Lampert to deposit $120 million by 4 p.m. Wednesday through his ESL hedge fund.

Lawyers for Lampert and his hedge fund, ESL Investments, were pressing for more time to sweeten his offer. It also sought a release from any liability related to transactions between the hedge fund and the retailer prior to Sears' bankruptcy filing.

That bid had included $1.3bn (£1bn) in financing from three institutions, ESL said in a statement.

Tuesday's court hearing in the Southern District of NY comes a day after the retailer took to social media to dispel the notion it was not longer in the running, saying in a tweet: "We may be slowing down, but we are not out of the race just yet". Without an agreement, Sears faced the possibility of liquidation.

Sears to Liquidate After Takeover Bid Falls Through