Sears might make it after all

Sears may have life after bankruptcy.The company has accepted a bid from chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert that could keep as many as 425 stores o...

Posted: Jan 16, 2019 11:40 AM

Sears may have life after bankruptcy.

The company has accepted a bid from chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert that could keep as many as 425 stores operating, according to a source familiar with the process.

Lampert was CEO of Sears Holdings until its October 15 bankruptcy filing, and his $5 billion bid — made through his hedge fund — was the only proposal to keep stores open. Lampert's bid also included jobs for 50,000 Sears employees.

The final decision doesn't rest with Sears or its attorneys, but with Judge Robert Drain, who is likely to rule on the auction results once different parties have an opportunity to file objections with the court.

Sears must notify the bankruptcy court of the winning bidder in a filing later Wednesday. Sears and their attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bids were submitted Monday. The source said Lampert improved the terms of his bid during two days of negotiation that ended Wednesday before being tapped as the winning bidder, according to the source, although the source could not say what changes were made.

It's no surprise that Lampert's bid won. Sears has said that staying in the business is the best outcome. Competing bids aimed to close stores and liquidate inventory. A committee representing many of its creditors has argued in favor of shutting down the company.

Lampert insists that the bankruptcy process can help Sears shed liabilities and get smaller. A new Sears can be profitable and competitive, he has said.

But Sears' creditors, including landlords and vendors, have called such a plan "nothing more than wishful thinking" in court filings.

As part of his bid, Lampert offered to forgive $1.3 billion he loaned to Sears. But attorneys for the other creditors argue that the judge should not accept debt forgiveness as part of Lampert's bid, because Lampert loaned Sears the money when he was chairman and CEO. The creditors' attorneys question whether the terms of those loans unduly benefited Lampert and his hedge fund rather than Sears.

Lampert and his hedge fund argue the loans were proper and made to keep Sears alive. But if the judge accepts the creditors' arguments, it could kill Lampert's chance of buying the company's assets.

Even if Lampert is able to go ahead with his plan to save Sears, it will be a much smaller retailer, with no stores in a wide swath of Middle America. Most of the stores will be on the West Coast, Northeast and Middle Atlantic, Florida and Texas.

The chain had nearly 700 stores and 68,000 workers at the time of the bankruptcy filing, although many stores have closed and many employees have already left the company.

Emerging from bankruptcy doesn't necessarily guarantee success. A number of retailers have made it through bankruptcy, only to go out of businesses after filing for bankruptcy again in relatively short order. RadioShack recently suffered this exact fate.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 51079

Reported Deaths: 2756
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12019693
Lake5588248
Elkhart353959
Allen2939134
St. Joseph210669
Hamilton1691101
Cass16449
Hendricks1454100
Johnson1340118
Porter82638
Tippecanoe7709
Vanderburgh7276
Clark69544
Madison67464
LaPorte61628
Howard59858
Bartholomew59745
Kosciusko5754
Marshall5449
Noble51328
LaGrange4849
Boone48244
Jackson4783
Delaware47152
Hancock46736
Shelby45425
Floyd40644
Morgan34231
Monroe34028
Grant31826
Dubois3046
Henry30018
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27410
Dearborn25823
Decatur25632
Lawrence25225
Vigo2528
Warrick25029
Harrison21722
Greene19432
Miami1932
Jennings17912
Putnam1738
DeKalb1694
Scott1649
Wayne1546
Daviess15017
Perry14710
Orange13723
Steuben1362
Jasper1352
Ripley1307
Franklin1278
Gibson1202
Wabash1162
Carroll1142
Fayette1067
Whitley1066
Starke1043
Newton10010
Huntington942
Jefferson862
Wells821
Randolph794
Fulton731
Knox710
Jay700
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Rush613
Posey570
Spencer541
Owen521
Benton510
Sullivan501
Adams491
Brown431
Blackford402
Fountain352
Crawford330
Switzerland320
Tipton321
Parke270
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 64214

Reported Deaths: 3036
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11724445
Cuyahoga8979393
Hamilton6781207
Lucas2952305
Marion274539
Montgomery244035
Summit2327209
Pickaway222241
Mahoning1928239
Butler182147
Columbiana137860
Stark1214114
Lorain112069
Trumbull104578
Warren97725
Clark80010
Delaware69815
Fairfield66717
Tuscarawas60410
Lake58923
Medina58232
Belmont56922
Licking56812
Miami50631
Portage49259
Wood48851
Clermont4737
Ashtabula44744
Geauga42543
Wayne37253
Richland3715
Allen35641
Greene3439
Mercer29910
Erie27122
Holmes2595
Darke25626
Huron2402
Madison2169
Ottawa17324
Sandusky16015
Washington14620
Ross1443
Coshocton1423
Athens1391
Crawford1385
Putnam13715
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson1092
Muskingum1001
Union931
Preble901
Monroe8917
Hancock861
Lawrence830
Guernsey823
Clinton811
Hocking809
Williams762
Shelby744
Logan711
Ashland672
Carroll673
Fulton670
Scioto670
Wyandot635
Brown611
Fayette550
Defiance533
Knox531
Champaign511
Highland501
Van Wert471
Perry441
Seneca412
Henry330
Paulding300
Jackson280
Pike280
Adams261
Vinton232
Gallia201
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 63°
Angola
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Few Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 62°
Decatur
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 61°
Dry start to the work week
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events