Time is running out for Sears; bankruptcy hearing Tuesday

A Sears sign is displayed at a store on Oct. 15 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

A Sears sign is displayed at a store on Oct. 15 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City

Lawyers representing Sears Holdings told a bankruptcy judge Tuesday that former CEO Eddie Lampert's bid to buy the assets wasn't adequate and said it wants to proceed with plans to liquidate, according to several published reports.

But at a NY bankruptcy court, Sears' lawyers told a judge that the company was prepared to consider a revised offer from Sears' chairman Eddie Lampert's ESL hedge fund.

Lawyers for Lampert and his hedge fund, ESL Investments, were pressing for more time to sweeten his offer. A hearing planned for 10 a.m. didn't actually get underway until after 1 p.m. because attorneys were huddled to discuss details of the bid.

It would bring an end to a retail name that goes back to 1893.

It's not the first frenzied deal Sears has made during its bankruptcy. In recent years, Toys "R" Us, RadioShack and Sports Authority have followed that path to the graveyard. Under changes in the bid reached in negotiations, he will have until Wednesday afternoon to make a $120 million cash payment.

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Lampert's ESL Investments said late last month it was prepared to pay $4.4 billion for numerous retailer's remaining assets, including about 425 Sears and Kmart stores.

Many of Sears' major creditors have said they want the company to liquidate. It was not immediately clear Tuesday how much, if any, debt forgiveness will be included in this revised offer.

Lampert had pledged to restore Sears to its glory days, when it owned the tallest building in the world as well as a radio station and Allstate insurance. Those creditors, which include Sears landlords and bondholders, have also questioned Lampert's pre-bankruptcy transactions with the retailer.

The creditors also have been arguing for months that shutting down Sears was the best course for repaying the greatest amount of the money it owed. A liquidation would likely shut hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores, potentially putting more than 50,000 people out of work.

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