Lampert fund looked to reassure Sears' vendors

Consumer confidence surged throughout December, declining sales are forcing Sears to close more than 100 Kmart and Sears stores, and Mark Zuckerberg vacations in Vietnam. Alison Harmelin reports.

(AP) NEW YORK - Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) says billionaire investor Edward Lampert's hedge fund tried to ease vendors' concerns nearly two months ago by taking on some of the risk that the vendors would face if Sears filed for bankruptcy.

The move, which came in January, was disclosed in a regulatory filing Wednesday.

In mid-January reports surfaced that lender CIT Group Inc. had stopped financing loans to vendors waiting to be paid by Sears but was quickly followed by reports that CIT was looking at approving financing again.

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Lampert's ESL Investments Inc. agreed Jan. 26 to buy a stake in receivable put agreements from a financial institution Sears did not identify. These agreements pay vendors if a company goes bankrupt before paying for shipped goods.

ESL holds 62 percent of Sears' stock.

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