The hedge fund run by Sears chairman Edward Lampert is offering to buy much of Sears’ remaining assets for about $4.6 billion with hopes of keeping the bankrupt retailer in business and continuing to employ about 50,000 of its workers.
The bid includes about 500 stores, headquarters and distribution centers, and Sears brands and businesses including Kenmore, DieHard and Sears Home Services.
“ESL (Investments) believes that a future for Sears as a going concern is the only way to preserve tens of thousands of jobs and bring continued economic benefits to the many communities across the United States that are touched by Sears and Kmart stores,” Lampert’s ESL said in the letter sent to Sears’ investment banker Wednesday and filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Thursday.
Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based Sears, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, got the Bankruptcy Court’s approval to begin auctioning assets last month.
Sears Holdings has no Sears or Kmart stores left in the Corridor.
In its letter, ESL said it believes long-struggling Sears can successfully reorganize around the smaller group of stores.
The fund said it expects to continue employing about 50,000 Sears workers and reinstate a severance program in place before the company sought bankruptcy protection.
It also would continue to honor gift cards and warranties.
ESL said its offer is contingent on its ability to acquire all the assets included in its bid as it believes they will perform better together.
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ESL also would require Sears to release it from any liability related to transactions between the retailer and the hedge fund before the bankruptcy filing.