Sears liquidation — of company and all its stores — averted for now, after Lampert’s 11th-hour rescue bid

The company's board had been prepared to ask a bankruptcy judge to sell off all its assets

A shuttered Sears store (Credit: iStock)
A shuttered Sears store (Credit: iStock)

UPDATE, Jan. 8, 1:40 p.m.: Sears Holdings temporarily staved off a full liquidation of the chain and its hundreds of stores when it agreed to consider a new takeover bid from Chairman Edward Lampert.

The retailer’s board was prepared to ask a bankruptcy judge Tuesday for permission to close all its stores and sell off its assets, sources told Reuters. But after 11th hour negotiations Sears attorneys said they’d agreed to consider a new bid that Lampert will submit by the end of Wednesday.

That bid will be considered along with two from competing liquidation groups during an auction Jan. 14.

Eddie Lampert (Credit: Getty Images)

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Sears filed for bankruptcy protection in October after years of declining sales and store closures, pummeled by the rise of e-commerce and inability to adjust.

Since the bankruptcy filing, the once-mighty retailer has announced several more rounds of store closures.

Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments, on Dec. 28 submitted a $4.4 billion takeover bid that would keep some 425 Sears stores open, joining two competing bids for the company from liquidation groups. ESL also said it would buy all the retailer’s remaining real estate for $1.8 billion if the takeover bid was rejected.

[Reuters] — John O’Brien

This story has been updated to reflect the developments in court today.