January 10, 2019 / 2:43 PM / 2 months ago

Sears chairman submits new $5 bln bid to save bankrupt retailer

Jan 10 (Reuters) - Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a revised takeover bid of more than $5 billion for the company on Thursday, a regulatory filing showed, providing hope the 126-year-old U.S. department-store chain could avoid liquidation.

Lampert has agreed to assume tax and vendor bills Sears has incurred since filing for bankruptcy protection in October last year that amounts to over $600 million, the filing bit.ly/2QCkaOV from an affiliate of the billionaire's hedge fund ESL Investments Inc showed.

The revised offer was submitted along with a $120 million cash deposit with an escrow agent selected by Sears.

Lampert proposes assuming roughly $166 million in payment obligations to vendors and $43 million in additional severance costs. The hedge fund will also assume $135 million in tax bills for properties that Lampert hopes to acquire as part of his bid.

Lampert said his offer will preserve up to 50,000 jobs. Sears employed about 68,000 people when it filed for bankruptcy.

The company had agreed to consider a revised bid from Lampert after his previous $4.4 billion offer fell short, as it faced several challenges, including being short of covering Sears’ administrative expenses, which include bills for legal and financial advisers.

To finance the new offer, ESL has received debt commitment letters from certain lenders related to a new asset-backed loan facility and from funds managed by Cyrus Capital Partners to roll over certain debt facilities and for a new secured real estate loan, the filing showed.

Sears will consider Lampert’s offer against a proposed liquidation during a Jan. 14 bankruptcy auction.

Reporting by Aishwarya Venugopal in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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