Sears holding Chairman, Eddie Lampert prevailed in a bankruptcy auction today of the iconic departmental store chain with a takeover bid of roughly $5.2 billion. This would allow the 126 year old retailer to keep its doors open, people familiar with the matter said Wednesday. Lampert's bid, boosted from an earlier $5 billion offer, prevailed after weeks of back and forth deliberations that culminated in a day's long bankruptcy auction held behind close doors.
The billionaire's proposal will save up to 45,000 jobs and keep 425 stores open across the US. There remains a chance the deal could fall apart, as it still must be documented and approved by a US bankruptcy judge. A hearing is expected to be scheduled for later this week.
Sources say Lampert's only challenger in the auction was Sears itself over how much it would reap in a sale of its businesses and assets in pieces. A group of creditors had been calling for its liquidation. Sears and Kmart have suffered a decade of falling sales and hundreds of store closings.
The retailer is one of the highest profile victims of Amazon's online surge. But unlike Toys R Us, which suffered a similar fate, Sears may live to see another day.