Published: Sat, December 29, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Sears just hours from liquidation that would close every store in US

Sears just hours from liquidation that would close every store in US

The move comes as a 3 p.m. Friday deadline looms for potential buyers to bid for Sears' assets including 500 of its stores and the Kenmore appliance brand.

So far a hedge fund controlled by Eddie Lampert, Sears' former CEO and now largest creditor, is the only entity to publicly disclose a plan to bid. "ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC".

The 130-year old retailer set a deadline of Friday for bids for its remaining stores to avert closing down completely.

If Lambert does not submit a proposal in time, both Sears and Kmart will be put in the direction of liquidation. In November, it announced the closure of 40 additional stores.

Liquidation sales at the stores are expected to begin in the second week of January. It filed for bankruptcy in October with about 700 stores still open, but plans to close 142 unprofitable locations.

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Last week, a bankruptcy court allowed Sears Holdings to sell its home improvement service businesses to Service.com for $60 million.

It also meant keeping Sears alive through complex investments from ESL. He has propped up the company with funding for several years but has not submitted or lined up a bid, CNBC reported.

The Sears chairman and ESL founder own just under half of the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, company, according to FactSet.

The rules give Sears flexibility to extend the deadline or make other changes that might promote more bids.

As of the bankruptcy filing, the company employed about 68,000 people. As part of the deal, ESL would also forgive $1.8 billion of debt that the retailer owes the hedge fund.

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