Daily Management Review

Lampert’s Bid Upheld In Auction For Sears, Reports


01/18/2019




Lampert’s Bid Upheld In Auction For Sears, Reports
According to reports, the bid by the chairman of retailer Sears - Edward Lampert, for the company at a bankruptcy auction was upheld. This means that the company would be potentially be saved and be in business along with the jobs of tens of employees of the company.
 
Reports quoting sources said that all of the competing proposals for Sears were beaten by the bid from Lampert’s hedge fund, ESL Investments. If this had not happened, the 132 year old Sears would have been forced to close down its stores and sell off its assets. According to a report by Bloomberg News, the value of the bid is more than $5 billion and is more than $150 million more than the previous offer that was made by ESL.
 
About 425 stores and many of Sears’ remaining assets were part of the previous offer. The bidder now expects to be able to save up to 50,000 jobs, ESL said.
 
Lampert however has been active to affect a turnaround for Sears for many years now. According to Neil Stern, senior partner at Chicago-based consulting firm McMillanDoolittle, while the bid has given Lampert some more time to affect a turn around the company, whether he had a strategy up the sleeve to help the company to continue to be in business in the long run is not yet clear.
 
According to reports, there were two days of intense closed door deliberations in New York to decide whether the value of Sears would be more if it were liquidated or if it was given a chance to revive.  One of the contentious issues during the deliberations was whether Lampert should be made immune to legal challenges for deals that were made by him during his earlier attempt to secure a turnaround for the company. According to a report in Bloomberg, such a respite has not been included in the final agreement.
 
The results of the bankruptcy auction have not been made public so far.
 
There would be eight days for other parties to challenge the agreement after it is made public by Sears. The decision for the sale of assets of Sears would ultimately have to be taken by a judge which is expected to be completed in the next few weeks.
 
In case the judgement goes in the favour of Lampert, it would allow him the time to make a yearslong quest for a Sears turnaround pay off.
 
In 2005, $11 billion acquisition of Sears by Kmart was engineered by Lampert and is now the largest shareholders of the company through his hedge fund. Sears has been given loans and other forms of financing worth $2.4 billion by him over the years, Lampert has said.
 
The specifics of its latest bid or strategy have not yet been made public by ESL. Stern said that the company however has already been downsized and hundreds of stores have been closed and “still can’t find a profitable base sitting there.”
 
(Source:www.chicagotribune.com)






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