US bankruptcy judge okays sale of Sears to Chairman Lampert

NEW YORK: A US bankruptcy judge approved Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Edward Lampert’s $5.2 billion takeover of the beleaguered retailer, allowing the department store chain to avert liquidation and preserve tens of thousands of jobs. Judge Robert Drain approved the sale after a hearing spanning several days in a White Plains, NY, federal bankruptcy court. He overruled objections, including from an unsecured creditors committee, which said the process for selling Sears was unfair to them and argued for a liquidation.
Lampert, who arranged an $11 billion merger between Sears and discounter Kmart in 2005 and tried for years to boost business, wins another chance to try to revive what once was the biggest US retailer.
Lampert, the only bidder offering to keep Sears alive through his hedge fund, ESL Investments Inc, agreed to a deal for 425 stores after round-the-clock negotiations in January. The takeover aims to preserve about 45,000 jobs. — Reuters