Following weeks of speculation after a questionable holiday season, Sears and Kmart will live on for now. ESL Investments, headed by Sears chairman and former CEO Eddie Lampert, is the winning bidder in a court-supervised auction for “substantially all” of Sears Holding Corp.’s assets. Pending bankruptcy court approval, ESL will take ownership of the “go forward stores” that will remain open, plus brands such as Kenmore and Diehard in a deal valued at more than $5.2 billion.
The hearing to approve the sale is scheduled for Feb. 1. Provided the closing conditions are satisfied, the transaction is expected to close on or about Feb. 8.
Sources close to the process say that there are still objectors to the plan, including unsecured creditors. If finalized, the ESL acquisition will preserve around 45,000 jobs, but the move is still controversial given that Lampert, in addition to serving as Sears’ chairman and CEO, was also the company’s largest shareholder and creditor. Rise Up Retail, an organization that made news in its successful fight for employee severance during the Toys “R” Us bankruptcy notes that Lampert will control 45,000 jobs, following a loss of more than 250,000 jobs under 15 years of his leadership.
Visit the restructuring hub at Prime Clerk to get more information on the Sears restructuring process.