Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a $4.4 billion bid for the struggling retailer just before the filing deadline on Dec. 28, potentially giving the chain a second chance at life, according to CNBC. The offer, which was placed through ESL Investments affiliate Transform Holdco, would cover 425 Sears locations.
The deal would “offer employment to up to 50,000 associates,” according to an ESL spokesperson. However, those terms would depend on “further actions the company may take between now and closing.” A successful bid would also reinstate severance protections for “eligible employees.”
While the deal could stave off liquidation, its success is not guaranteed. Sears’ advisors have until Jan. 4, 2019 to decide whether ESL is a “qualified bidder,” which is necessary for the firm to bid against liquidators in a Jan. 14 auction.
Lampert’s bid also will face scrutiny from Sears’ unsecured bidders, who have previously said they would prefer liquidation to a purchase by ESL. These parties believe Sears’ assets will be more valuable when considered in pieces, rather than as a single company run under ESL ownership.