Sears narrowly avoided liquidation on Friday after receiving an official buyout bid from former CEO Eddie Lampert.
Before a 4 p.m. ET deadline, Lampert submitted the $4.4 billion through his hedge fund ESL Investments. Transform Holdco LLC, an affiliate of Lampert’s hedge fund, said it hoped to keep 425 stores open and 50,000 people working, according to The Associated Press. The bid includes $1.3 billion in financing from three institutions, ESL said in a statement.
Sears filed for bankruptcy in October and has since shuttered hundreds of stores as it attempts to restructure and return to profitability. As part of its bankruptcy deal, the once iconic retail chain said it would close more than 170 of its 700 stores by the end of the year. On Friday, Sears announced plans to shutter an additional 80 store locations in March.
At its peak, Sears operated nearly 4,000 stores.
Sears has been spinning off profitable brands – like Craftsman – to keep it afloat throughout a restructuring process.
The retailer – once the country’s largest – has not posted a profit since 2012.