Chair­man makes $4.6B bid to save Sears

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By Kather­ine Do­herty, Josh Saul and Al­li­son McNeely

out­right liq­ui­da­tion of Sears, which has strug­gled to get sup­port from lenders and sup­pli­ers who aren’t sure that the iconic re­tailer can sur­vive, and Lam­pert’s new bid may not quell those doubts.

“It’s a last-ditch ef­fort,” said Farla Efros, pres­i­dent of HRC Re­tail Ad­vi­sory. “They want to be able to hold onto any eq­uity that they can ac­tu­ally hold onto, and it’s re­ally about ego and sav­ing face.”

The deal will hand Lam­pert more money and pro­fes­sional fees while the eq­uity hold­ers and lenders will see their in­vest­ment evap­o­rate, said Burt Flickinger, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Strate­gic Re­source Group, a re­tail-ad­vi­sory firm.

“The longer Lam­pert stays, the more Sears and Kmart’s com­bined vi­a­bil­ity is im­paired,” Flickinger said. “He’s try­ing to per­pet­u­ate him­self al­most as an un­der­taker to drain more blood out of the body and make more money as he’s do­ing it.”

Lam­pert teamed up with hedge fund Cyrus Cap­i­tal Part­ners this month to pre­pare a joint bid, Bloomberg News re­ported ear­lier. As for the new debt, Sears said it has var­i­ous pro­pos­als from mul­ti­ple po­ten­tial as­set-based lenders and is work­ing with them on the ar­range­ments.

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