Sears received another lifeline Tuesday when the company's chairman and largest shareholder promised to line up the necessary financing to keep the struggling department store chain afloat. The reprieve came after what Sears lawyers described to a bankruptcy judge in New York as "round-the-clock" negotiations following the company board's initial rejection of Eddie Lampert's proposal, which sought to preserve 425 stores and 50,000 workers, the AP reports. According to lawyers close to the matter, one of the main sticking points was that the $4.4 billion bid, which included $1.3 billion in financing from three financial institutions, didn't include cash.
The bid now requires Lampert to deposit $120 million by 4pm Wednesday through his ESL hedge fund. The revised bid is not official, and will be evaluated in an auction set for Monday that will compete with other bids from liquidators looking to shut it down. The 11th-hour negotiation is yet another twist in the rocky journey of Sears, whose fate has been hanging in the balance since it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Oct. 15. As of the filing, the company had just under 700 stores and 68,000 workers. (After the company staved off liquidation late last month, it announced another 80 stores would close.)
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