Sears seems to be saved – for now. Eddie Lampert, the company’s chairman and biggest shareholder, emerged as the winning bidder for the bankrupt retailer. His hedge fund ESL Investments confirmed the billionaire investor’s successful $5.2 billion bid on Thursday.
Lampert has touted his plan to buy Sears as one that would save up to 50,000 jobs and keep 425 Sears and Kmart stores operating in the U.S. He relinquished his role as CEO of Sears after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October. Since then, it has shuttered hundreds of stores and laid off thousands of workers.
“We are pleased to have reached a deal that would provide a path for Sears to emerge from the chapter 11 process,” the company said in a statement on Thursday. “Importantly, the consummation of the transaction would preserve employment for tens of thousands of associates, as well as the relationships with many vendors and suppliers who provide Sears with goods and services. We would like to thank our dedicated associates, vendors and partners for their continued support through this process, and most importantly the members and customers we have the privilege to serve.”
The hearing to approve the sale is currently scheduled for February 1. Provided the closing conditions are satisfied, the transaction is expected to close on or about February 8, 2019.