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Sears

Shoppers looked for a few good deals as Sears in Eastland Mall kept its doors open through Black Friday last week. The store is now closed.

HOFFMAN ESTATES — Eddie Lampert and his ESL Holdings hedge fund are offering to buy the rest of Sears for up to $4.6 billion in cash and stock.

The Sears chairman and ESL own just under half of the Hoffman Estates, Illinois, company, according to FactSet. Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October, weighed down by years of declining sales and massive debt.

ESL Holdings said in a regulatory filing Thursday that its nonbinding offer for roughly 500 remaining Sears stores will keep about 50,000 employees working. The offer is subject to due diligence and ESL's ability to get financing, among other things.

Sears closed its Hickory Point Mall location in Forsyth in 2014 and recently its Eastland Mall store in Bloomington suffered the same fate.

Sears, which started as a mail order catalog in the 1880s, has been on a slow march toward extinction as it lagged far behind its peers and incurred huge financial losses over the years.

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