The bid now requires Lampert to deposit $120 million by 4 p.m. Wednesday through his ESL hedge fund. That's because attorneys were working feverishly to improve the terms of the offer.
"If Sears liquidates, it'd be very, very sad for all of us", said longtime Sears vendor Joe Shamie, CEO of furniture vendor Delta Children, which lost millions after Toys "R" Us filed for bankruptcy. It is still possible that those wishing to shutdown the company will bid more for the assets than Lampert is offering.
Sears' bankruptcy, which includes discount chain Kmart, followed a decade of revenue declines, hundreds of store closures, and years of deals by billionaire Lampert in an attempt to turn around the company he put together in 2005 through an US$11 billion deal. Meanwhile, Lampert also plans to present details of his offer and make the case for renewing efforts to save Sears in bankruptcy court on Tuesday.
The deadline on the bid was this past Friday.
Eddie Lampert will get another shot at keeping Sears Holdings Corp. from liquidation. A subsidiary of B. Riley Financial, Great American partnered with Tiger a year ago to buy many of bankrupt retailer Bon-Ton Stores' assets and liquidate the company. Lampert, who retains the title of chairman, and his ESL own just under half of the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, company, according to FactSet.
Store closings continued throughout 2017 and 2018, with Sears Holdings declaring bankruptcy in mid-October 2018. Lampert is the largest shareholder in Seritage.
Lampert submitted a bid on December 28 and Sears had until Friday to accept it, but the company didn't comment before Tuesday's hearing.
Transform Holdco, the entity controlled by ESL, also said it would bid individually on some assets if the $4.4 billion bid was not accepted.
A main point of contention in the negotiations between Lampert and Sears previously centered on whether Lampert's bid fully addressed the bankruptcy costs that Sears has racked up, according to sources familiar with the matter.
That bid had included $1.3bn (£1bn) in financing from three institutions, ESL said in a statement.
It hasn't had a profitable year since 2010, and it has lost $12 billion since then.
It would bring an end to a retail name that goes back to 1893. Merchandise from toys, medicine, gramophones, automobiles, kit houses and tombstones made it the Amazon of its time. Sears was the third largest retailer in the U.S.at the time.