U.S. bankruptcy judge approves sale of Sears to Chairman Lampert

FILE PHOTO: A dismantled sign sits leaning outside a Sears department store one day after it closed as part of multiple store closures by Sears Holdings Corp in the United States in Nanuet, New York, U.S., January 7, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved Sears Holdings Corp Chairman Edward Lampert’s $5.2 billion takeover of the beleaguered retailer, allowing the department store chain to narrowly 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, N.Y., federal bankruptcy court. He overruled objections, including from an unsecured creditors committee. Those creditors, including vendors and landlords, argued they would fare better in a liquidation and that the process for selling Sears was unfair.

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.

Reporting by Mike Spector and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Dan Grebler

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