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Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert Submits $4.4 Billion Bid to Save Company, 50,000 Jobs — 5 Points

1. On Friday, Sears Chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert announced that he is submitting a $4.4 billion takeover bid for the U.S. retailer. In October, Sears filed for bankruptcy, and it has been trying to escape both liquidation and laying off 10,000-plus workers ever since. 

2. Lampert’s $4.4 billion bid is being backed by “$1.3 billion in financing from three different financial institutions.” Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc, and Royal Bank of Canada are those backers. Lampert and Sears are hoping the money will preserve around 425 yet-to-be-closed stores along with keeping 50,000 workers, out of the 68,000, employed. 

3. An ESL Investments (Lampert’s hedge fund) spokesman said, “Factoring for all considerations, we believe that our going concern bid provides the best path forward for the company, the best option to save tens of thousands of jobs and is superior for all of Sears’ stakeholders to the alternative of a complete liquidation. Much work remains and there is no assurance our proposal will be completed.”

4. The next step for Sears is to determine whether the bid is viable. It is possible that the company could still reject the bid. And, without a proper, viable bid or another buyer (which a bankruptcy court judge must approve of), Sears would have to close permanently after 125 years.

5. Sears employees are desperately hoping that the bid helps the company stay open. Not only do they want to keep their jobs, but they feel particularly attached to the company. Bill Rudolph, a Sears employee, said, “It was a place where people cared for each other. Mattie Hughey, another employee, added, “It feels like family.”

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