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Lampert’s ESL to assume Sears vendor payment obligations


Hoffman Estates, Ill. -- In a move to ensure that vendors continue to supply Sears its goods, Sears Holdings Corp.'s top shareholder ESL Investments, a hedge fund owned by Edward Lampert, has agreed to assume some payment obligations.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday and reported by Reuters, Sears said ESL made a deal on Jan. 26 with a financial institution to acquire 80% interest in an agreement designed to ensure payment to vendors in the event of a bankruptcy filing by a company.

In January, Reuters reported that business lender CIT Group would again stop providing loans to suppliers of Sears over concerns about the retailer's financial well-being.

As of Jan. 28, ESL held a participation interest of $93.3 million in the financial institution's agreements relating to the company. Sears is neither a party nor will become a party to any of these agreements, according to the filing.

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