Sears rejects bailout bid, hundreds of stores likely to close

A Sears store

There is a court hearing Tuesday morning in White Plains federal bankruptcy court, after which Sears is expected to announce whether it will liquidate, according to sources.

Drain said that Sears will consider Lampert's offer versus a potential liquidation during a bankruptcy auction on January 14.

Last week, Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert submitted a $4.4 billion bid to keep afloat at least part of the retailer, which owns both Sears and Kmart.

Reuters reports the negotiations between Lampert and the company broke down over the structure of his bid, as well as the former CEO's request to not be held liable for actions he took while servicing as the company's chief executive.

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Once America's largest department store chain, Sears had 687 stores and 68,000 workers by the time the Illinois-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.

Eddie Lampert has made another bid to save Sears.

"The bankruptcy process is burning through a lot of money and these assets are more valuable today rather than tomorrow", said a source close to the creditors.

The deal was reached after days of "virtually round-the-clock negotiations", Sears attorney Ray Schrock told the court.

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Lampert's ESL Investments said late last month it was prepared to pay $4.4 billion for numerous retailer's remaining assets, including about 425 Sears and Kmart stores.

That bid had included $1.3bn (£1bn) in financing from three institutions, ESL said in a statement.

Many of Sears' major creditors have said they want the company to liquidate.

Even though no other bidders stepped forward, Sears Holdings' board decided the offer wasn't good enough since almost a quarter of it was in the form of debt forgiveness. Those creditors, which include Sears landlords and bondholders, have also questioned Lampert's pre-bankruptcy transactions with the retailer.

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The iconic retailer gradually lost its shine, however, as consumers turned to e-commerce and brick-and-mortar rivals such as Walmart Inc and Target Corp. The company responded by closing unprofitable stores.

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