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Case
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Reference no. 9-219-106
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Originally published in: 2021
Version: 6 December 2021
Revision date: 06-Jan-2022

Abstract

In 2019, ESL Investments' offer to purchase Sears Holdings out of bankruptcy, was accepted, despite opposition. Was this the best outcome? In 2019, ESL Investments' USD5.2 billion offer to purchase Sears Holdings out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, was accepted, despite opposition from the company's unsecured creditors and other parties. ESL, which was led by Eddie Lampert, had acquired a stake in Sears following its 2005 merger with. Kmart. Lampert was chairman and CEO. During Lampert's ownership, Sears and Kmart shrunk their store base from 5,670 to 687 stores, and over 200,000 employees lost their jobs. Some attributed Sears' woes to a challenging operating environment, others argued that Lampert's actions over the last decade benefitted himself and other shareholders at the expense of other Sears stakeholders. Was a sale of the company to ESL the best outcome?
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Abstract

In 2019, ESL Investments' offer to purchase Sears Holdings out of bankruptcy, was accepted, despite opposition. Was this the best outcome? In 2019, ESL Investments' USD5.2 billion offer to purchase Sears Holdings out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, was accepted, despite opposition from the company's unsecured creditors and other parties. ESL, which was led by Eddie Lampert, had acquired a stake in Sears following its 2005 merger with. Kmart. Lampert was chairman and CEO. During Lampert's ownership, Sears and Kmart shrunk their store base from 5,670 to 687 stores, and over 200,000 employees lost their jobs. Some attributed Sears' woes to a challenging operating environment, others argued that Lampert's actions over the last decade benefitted himself and other shareholders at the expense of other Sears stakeholders. Was a sale of the company to ESL the best outcome?

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