Eddie Lampert refuses to give up: the investor and president of the board of directors at endangered department store chain Sears is making a new 5-billion dollar (4.3 billion euros) takeover offer to save the chain from bankruptcy.
The obituaries in the media may have been somewhat premature: iconic store chain Sears is apparently not quite dead yet. Through his investment fund ESL Investments, Lampert wants to make a last attempt to save the company and 50.000 jobs along with it. The story comes from Reuters, which quotes sources close to the situation. Previously, Lampert's offer of 4.4 billion dollars was refused by the chain.
Sears filed for bankruptcy on 15 October. The chain has been in debt and losing money for years. Founded in 1892 as a mail order company under the name Sears, Roebuck and Company, it grew into the largest retailer in the world by the 1960s. Failing to adapt to a quickly-changing world, Sears was surpassed by Walmart in the 1980s.
In 2005, Lampert merged Sears with Kmart – another iconic American retailer – hoping to save the company through reorganisations and the sale of various business units, but all he bought was time. In 2010, Sears still had 3500 physical stores. Today, only 506 remain and the question is how many of those can stay open if Lampert's rescue plan gets through.