Time is running out for Sears; bankruptcy hearing Tuesday

Sears to Liquidate After Takeover Bid Falls Through

National The end of Sears? Company plans for liquidation, reports say Scripps National 9:16 AM

"Sears Holdings Corp will ask a bankruptcy judge on Tuesday if it can proceed with liquidation after it could not reach an agreement on Chairman Edward Lampert's $4.4 billion takeover bid, casting doubt on the survival of the 126-year-old US department store", Reuters exclusively reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.

A judge still needs to approve the agreement. Sears will then hold an auction January 14, when it will compare Lampert's offer against others by liquidators.

Lampert's offer was reportedly the only one that sought to rescue the company rather than liquidate it.

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Lampert had submitted a bid on December 28.

The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway warned 13 years ago, during a conversation he had in 2005 with students from the University of Kansas, that Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert's venture in merging Sears and Kmart was unlikely to succeed, as first reported by Business Insider.

Sears received another lifeline Tuesday when the company's chairman and largest shareholder promised to line up the necessary financing to keep the struggling department store chain afloat.

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In various documents, Sears itself acknowledged the problem, previously noting more than 200 suppliers have stopped or refused to ship merchandise to the company in the two weeks heading into bankruptcy, further crippling its business. Under changes in the bid reached in negotiations, he will have until Wednesday afternoon to make a $120 million cash payment.

"If Lampert's deal doesn't pay enough cash to pay their fees, they would have concerns", said bankruptcy attorney Kenneth Rosen of Lowenstein Sandler, who represents smaller creditors. Transform Holdco, a new entity controlled by ESL, said in a letter to Sears' investment banker that it believes keeping the Hoffman Estates-based retailer in business is the best way to preserve jobs and recover money the retailer owes.

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