Sears confirms chairman's hedge fund wins bid in auction

FILE - This Oct. 15, 2018 file photo shows a sign for a Sears Outlet department store is displayed in Norristown, Pa. Multiple media outlets reported early Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, that billionaire Eddie Lampert has won a bankruptcy auction after strengthening his bid in several days of negotiations with creditors. Lampert, Sears’ chairman and largest shareholder, upped his offer to more than $5 billion and added a $120 million cash deposit through an affiliate of his ESL hedge fund. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Sears is confirming reports its chairman and largest shareholder Eddie Lampert's hedge fund has won a bid to buy roughly 400 stores and other assets for $5.2 billion.

The move, announced Thursday, preserves 45,000 jobs and is subject to court approval on Feb. 1. Creditors will have the opportunity to object before then.

The deal will then close Feb. 8.

The agreement follows marathon negotiations that started early Monday as Lampert was fending off demands from creditors who were pushing for liquidation.

Lampert's ESL Investments was the only one to put forth a proposal to rescue the floundering company in its entirety. He had sweetened his bid multiple times.

Still, many experts believe a smaller version of the retailer will not be viable as it faces increasing competition.

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