news – Sears will live on under Chairman Edward Lampert, who ‘has nine lives, it seems’

A plan to keep Sears Holdings Corp. alive and tens of thousands of people employed was approved Thursday by a federal Bankruptcy Court judge.

Judge Robert Drain of U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York approved Sears Chairman and former CEO Edward Lampert’s bid to buy the retail chain’s assets for $5.2 billion.

Lampert’s purchase, made through his hedge fund, ESL Investments, is intended to keep 425 Sears and Kmart stores open, preserving some 45,000 jobs. It was the only bid submitted in an auction that would have kept the once-mighty department store giant in business and avoid liquidation.

Lampert’s plan was opposed by a committee of unsecured creditors skeptical that Hoffman Estates-based Sears will be any more successful after exiting bankruptcy. The committee pushed for a liquidation, arguing that shutting down the company and selling its assets could recover more of what Sears owes.

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