Eddie Lampert, the chairman and former CEO of Sears (who some blame for the retailer’s current financial woes), wants to buy the embattled chain for $4.6 billion.
ESL Investments, Lampert’s hedge fund, said it had submitted the bid to the bankruptcy court in a statement Thursday. The offer comes as Sears faces a Dec. 15 deadline to find a buyer.
ESL’s bid would cover all of Sears’ assets, including 500 stores, and would allow 50,000 of Sears 68,000 current employees to keep their jobs, the group said. ESL will need the support of creditors and the court for the offer to be accepted, though, and some creditors have said they’d prefer to liquidate the company than sell to the hedge fund.
It may not be the only one on the table for Sears, either. A “stalking horse bidder” will be unveiled on Dec. 15 in bankruptcy court, reports CNBC. That bid could influence possible other bids and could conceivable force ESL to increase its offer.
Sears, in October, filed bankruptcy after 125 years in business. The company secured a loan to stay open for Black Friday shoppers this year, but has been closing stores. Lampert has repeatedly said he hoped to save the company, though some critics say the store’s demise was hastened by some of his actions as CEO, such as selling off its best brands, including Craftsman and Lands’ End.