Lampert Seeks an Extension to Finance His Sears Bid

(Bloomberg) -- Eddie Lampert is asking for more time to round up financing for his bid to keep Sears Holdings Corp. alive, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Lampert, chairman of the bankrupt chain, is counting on getting some financing from lenders including Bank of America Corp. and is still seeking additional funds, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the process isn’t public.

Bids were due Friday at 4 p.m. New York time under procedures outlined in court filings, and Lampert has been the only potential buyer aiming to keep the business running. Sears has also been soliciting liquidation bids that would mean shutting hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores, and throwing more than 50,000 people out of work. The rules give Sears flexibility to extend the deadline or make other changes that might promote more bids.

Representatives for Sears, based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and for Bank of America declined to comment. Officials at Lazard, the investment banker for the retailer, didn’t immediately respond to messages. Lampert and his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc., also didn’t respond to messages.

The once-dominant retailer filed for bankruptcy in October, and Lampert was seeking almost $1 billion to support his rescue effort. As originally outlined, his plan would be partly funded by swapping the debt he holds for full ownership of the company. But he also needed cash, and some lenders have balked because Sears has been losing money for years, and suppliers are concerned they might not get paid for goods that they ship to restock stores.

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