Eddie Lampert Not Ready To Leave Sears Behind

The old friends are hoping at least for one last drink in 2019.
By DR04 [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

By DR04 [CC BY 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?

Lampert is competing against a number of liquidators and other investors who want to buy Sears piecemeal — a smaller number of stores or one or two business units, like its home services division. All bidders will compete in an auction that's scheduled for Jan. 14.

For auld lang syne, my jo, for auld lang syne,

We’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.

Lampert has offered two options to try to keep the company afloat, a $4.4 billion plan that would save 425 locations and a less-ambitious proposal that would keep at least 250 of the little under 700 it had when it filed for bankruptcy in October.

We twa hae run about the braes, and pou’d the gowans fine;

But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit, sin auld lang syne.

Sears plans to close 80 more stores across the U.S. in March, as the bankrupt retailer may be forced to liquidate its business entirely, CNBC has learned…. When Sears filed for bankruptcy on Oct. 15, it was still operating a little under 700 stores. At that time, the company said it would close 142 unprofitable stores. In November, it announced the closure of 40 additional stores.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn, frae morning sun till dine;

But seas between us braid hae roar’d, sin’ auld lang syne.

Lampert's $4.4 billion bid has already faced pushback from the company's unsecured creditors, a person familiar with the situation told CNBC…. A likely linchpin is the $1.8 billion Lampert expects to put toward his offer by forgiving debt owed to ESL through a so-called credit bid. Sears' unsecured creditors said last month that they will object to a credit bid.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! And gie’s a hand o’thine!

And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught, for auld lang syne.

His bid for 250 stores could keep at least part of Sears running, but those stores would face steep odds in competing with retail titans like Walmart, which has more than 5,000 locations in the U.S. alone.

The offer for 250 stores, therefore, could also ultimately lead to liquidation, even if Lampert's goal is salvation.

Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert makes two offers for Sears: One to save it, one to salvage pieces in a partial liquidation [CNBC]
Sears closing 80 more stores in March as it faces possible liquidation [CNBC]