The fund managed by Sears president Eddie Lampert, ESL Investments, yesterday presented its $ 4.6 billion proposal to help save the company with the purchase of around 500 stores.
If the offer was approved, it would help about 50,000 of Sears's approximately 68,000 employees keep their jobs, ESL said. The new company would restore the separation program that was in place before the Sears bankruptcy, ESL also said.
"ESL Investments continues to believe in the immense potential of Sears Holdings to evolve and operate profitably as a developing company with a new capitalization and organizational structure," ESL wrote in the letter.
ESL could face other competitions in its bid for Sears. A "stalking horse hunter" will be appointed on December 15th in the bankruptcy court. This bidder will put the floor for other potential offers. It was not possible to determine immediately if others are trying to buy the company.
The offer itself will not guarantee that Sears will remain alive. ESL will need the support of its creditors and the approval of the bankruptcy court to proceed with its offer.
The unsecured creditors of the company have already stated that they would prefer the company to liquidate rather than sell to ESL, believing it to be more valuable in pieces than as an operating company under the ownership of ESL.
The use of existing debt to buy a company from bankruptcy through a so-called credit offer is a controversial practice. Some consider credit offers as if they offered investors who buy the debt of a company in difficulty at low prices an unfair path to property.