Hedge fund ESL Investments plans a $4.6 billion bid for Sears that would, in addition to saving 50,000 jobs, reinstate the prepetition Sears severance program for the benefit of all eligible employees.
ESL made its intent known in a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Included in the $4.6 billion bid is a credit bid valued at $1.8 billion.
The hedge fund said, “ESL Investments continues to believe in Sears Holdings’ immense potential to evolve and operate profitably as a going concern with a new capitalization or organizational structure. We believe that a future for Sears as a going concern is the only way to preserve tens of thousands of jobs and bring continued economic benefits to the many communities across the United States that are touched by Sears and Kmart stores.”
The letter from ESL noted that its proposed business plan “envisages significant strategic initiatives and investments in a right-sized network of large format and small retail stores, digital assets and interdependent operating businesses.”
ESL is managed by Edward S. Lampert, who is also chairman of Sears. It was Lampert who, through ESL, bailed Kmart Corp. out of bankruptcy and later merged Kmart Holding Corp. with what was then known as Sears, Roebuck & Co.