Yes, Sears is likely to collapse, but its biggest stakeholder will be just fine

Can Eddie Lampert save Sears?

Probably not, say most experts, despite years of maneuvers and machinations to keep the storied retailer afloat. Long a mainstay of the U.S. retail landscape, Sears is still suffering massive losses and declining sales, and many believe its only hope is a bankruptcy filing.

The twist in the tale is that Lampert, the company’s chief executive, main shareholder and a key lender through his hedge fund ESL Investments Inc., is unlikely to lose much money, even as other shareholders are wiped out. That’s because Lampert, again and again, has positioned himself to benefit from the moves required to keep Sears in business while shielding him from potential downside.

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