On Dec. 6, 2018, ESL Investments, the investment firm headed by Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert, submitted a $4.6 billion proposal to help save bankrupt retailer Sears Holdings with the purchase of 500 stores. Sears Holdings, that is made up of Sears and Kmart stores, had filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 15, 2018 and was reportedly discussing a bid with ESL to help emerge from bankruptcy.
The Dec. 6 offer reportedly includes up to $950 million in cash through an asset-based loan facility, a “credit bid” of $1.8 billion and the assumption of roughly $1.1 billion in liabilities. The liabilities assumed include gift cards, points from its Shop Your Way loyalty program and protection agreements from Sears Home Services. Other funds include additional cash, notes and the rollover of cash collateral.
ESL told CNBC that if approved, the bid would help about 50,000 of Sears’ 68,000 employees retain their jobs. The new company would also reinstate the severance program it had in place prior to Sears’ bankruptcy filing, ESL also said.
“ESL Investments continues to believe in Sears Holdings’ immense potential to evolve and operate profitably as a going concern with a new capitalization and organizational structure,” ESL wrote in a letter.