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USA Today this morning reports that a number of Sears Holdings creditors have gone to court to challenging the move by the company’s chairman and primary shareholder, Eddie Lampert, to buy what remains of the troubled business, changing that he has “engaged in a years-long ‘scheme’ to strip the company of its assets.”

According to the story, “Lampert's hedge fund, ESL Investments, won an auction for most of Sears remaining assets this week with a $5.2-billion offer. The sale, which still needs final approval by a bankruptcy judge at a hearing slated for Feb. 1, staved off potential liquidation of the company and according to Sears will preserve 45,000 jobs.

“But creditors say that the deal is part of a pattern by Lampert, who they say is getting a greatly diminished company at a discounted price, further enriching himself while leaving vendors, workers and others in the lurch.”

USA Today notes that while Lampert “has given billions of dollars to keep Sears afloat and has said that he was ‘fighting like hell’ to help the once iconic company survive amid a retail landscape disrupted by the rise of online shopping and fast fashion,” he also has “presided over a series of complex financial transactions in which he has been both lender and borrower, or buyer and seller.”

A percentage of Sears’ creditors continue to believe that they have a better shot at recovering at least some of what they are owed if Lampert is out and the retailer is liquidated.
KC's View:
To be honest, I have no idea if a Sears acquisition or liquidation makes more sense for the creditors. I do know that I cannot imagine any circumstance under which Lampert’s involvement is a positive for anyone other than Lampert.