Lampert Ups Sears Rescue Bid To $5 Billion

Sears Holdings Chairman Eddie Lampert has confirmed that he and his hedge fund ESL Investments have increased their last-ditch bid to $5 billion to save the 126-year-old chain from liquidation. Sears will assess the bid during a Jan. 14 bankruptcy auction.

Despite Lampert’s failure to submit a revised offer by the Jan. 9 bidding deadline after Sears rejected his $4.4 billion bid, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Drain agreed to give him an additional day to place another bid.A group of Sears creditors, including some landlords and vendors, have strongly protested the bid, claiming that it fell short in covering vendor fees and payments. The group has been calling for the chain to shut its doors for good, saying they will recover more money in a liquidation scenario.

As part of the previous bid, Lampert planned to acquire 425 Sears and Kmart stores that are still open. The new offer is anticipated to preserve up to 50,000 jobs and cover approximately $166 million in merchandise payment obligations to vendors and…