Judge approves Lampert’s $5.2B Sears takeover bid
Chairman’s offer prevents Sears from liquidation, saves 425 stores
A U.S. bankruptcy judge approved Sears Chairman Edward Lampert’s $5.2 billion takeover bid of the company, saving off liquidation of the troubled retailer and hundreds of stores.
The ruling means that thousands of jobs have been saved and 425 stores will remain open for now, according to Reuters. Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Southern District Court in White Plains, N.Y, approved the sale on Thursday after overruling objections from Sears’ creditors.
Lampert stepped down as CEO of Sears in October when the company filed for bankruptcy, but still remains its chairman and largest shareholder. Lampert, through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, presented the only bid for the company to keep it afloat, according to Reuters. Lampert’s final offer was $800 million more than his first offer due to an agreement to pay Sear’s bills for merchandise and taxes.
As part of the deal, Lampert will also assume the company’s bankruptcy loans. He was able to use $1.3 billion Sears owed him as part of his offer, which was something that some creditors were opposed to, according to Reuters.
Sears has struggled in recent years to compete with e-commerce companies such Amazon and the retailer has closed a number of stores across the country. [Reuters] — Keith Larsen