New York—Sears has another chance at survival.

Chairman Eddie Lampert and his private equity firm, ESL Investments Inc., won this week’s bankruptcy auction for Sears Holdings Corp., according to a person familiar with the matter.

The company originally filed Chapter 11 in October.

In late December, Lampert submitted a $4.4 billion bid that would save some of Sears.

The deadline to accept the bid, Jan. 4, came and went without any indication of what Sears had decided. Many news sites reported that the retailer had rejected the offer because it included too little cash to cover costs incurred in the bankruptcy, and it undervalued inventory and other assets.

But then a New York judge afforded Lampert another day to amp up his offer and so he sweetened the deal.

Lampert and ESL added more cash and assumed more liabilities in their final $5.2 billion bid, according to a Reuters report. (Details of the new bid have not yet been made public.)

Lampert’s bid will keep more than 400 Sears and Kmart stores open and about 50,000 workers employed, but it remains to be seen how he will turn around the retailer’s performance to make the stores last in a competitive retail environment.

A Sears spokesperson declined to comment on the development Wednesday.

It’s not the end of the Sears bankruptcy saga yet, however, as the bankruptcy court still must approve the bid.

Another hearing is scheduled for Friday, at which time all parties will have the opportunity to object to the auction results.

According to the Reuters report, a group of creditors already have voiced their opposition to Lampert’s bid, arguing they would receive more money through liquidation and through lawsuits against ESL for past deals with Sears.

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