(Reuters) – Sears Holdings Corp (SHLDQ.PK) Chairman Eddie Lampert’s ESL Investments Inc has made an offer valued at $4.6 billion to buy the bankrupt U.S. retailer, one of the only options that would prevent the department store chain from shutting its doors for good.
FILE PHOTO: The Sears logo is seen outside a store in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., October 10, 2018. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo
Lampert’s offer calls for about 500 Sears stores to remain open and would keep 50,000 of the retailer’s workers employed, according to a letter from his hedge fund filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.
The 125-year-old company faces a series of deadlines this month to find a buyer that would keep it in business as some of its creditors call for it to shut down, claiming they would be repaid more through going-out-of-business sales.
Preliminary indications of interest for Sears assets were due Wednesday, according to court papers.
Many retailers that have filed for bankruptcy in recent years, including toy seller Toys R Us Inc and department store Bon-Ton Stores Inc, have liquidated after no viable offers to keep the companies open were made.
ESL’s takeover bid features financing from a variety of sources and a complicated structure not uncommon in bankruptcy auctions. For starters, the hedge fund proposes to raise up to $1.7 billion in cash through a series of maneuvers that include Sears seeking a new loan backed by collateral and issuing new notes.
The hedge fund, the retailer’s largest shareholder and creditor, would also forgive $1.8 billion Sears owes it