Judge approves Lampert’s $5.2B Sears takeover bid

Sears still faces cutthroat competition from Amazon Target and Walmart and its stores look old and drab

Lampert has said the ESL offer would will save some 45,000 jobs and approximately 425 stores. The decision is expected to be made final on Friday.

Lampert merged Sears and Kmart together in 2005, when the two brands had 3,500 United States stores and more than 300,000 employees between them.

A USA bankruptcy judge approved Sears Chairman Edward Lampert's $5.2 billion takeover bid of the company, saving off liquidation of the troubled retailer and hundreds of stores. Lampert, who has been repeatedly blamed for Sears' downfall, was not in attendance. Those creditors called on the court to shut down the company and liquidate its assets, saying that would be the best way to repay their debts.

"A clear communications process with vendors and employees is really warranted", Drain said. The agency said last month that it would seek to take over Sears' plans, which cover more than 90,000 people. It also took over assets in the plan.

Another sticking point was whether or not Lampert and ESL would agree to assume $166 million in accounts payable owed by Sears for its recent inventory purchases.

James Bromley, ESL's attorney, said the disagreement can be settled in future negotiations after the deal closes.

In the hearing, the creditors' committee won an important concession, the New York Times says: It can still file lawsuits against Lampert for past deals that spun off real estate and other assets to companies that his hedge fund had stakes in. He said he may rule from the bench at the conclusion of the hearing.

Still unresolved is a dispute between Sears and ESL over which is responsible for paying $166 million for inventory received after Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on October 15. And Sears has indicated in its filings that it expects to transition out of large stores of about 160,000 square feet to stores less than one-tenth that size.

As reported by FOX Business, the company's long-term obligations have been underfunded by more than $1 billion for years.

Further, the experts opined that to make sure that Sears will survive and get past the hurdles, the bosses must modernize the aging store and give it a major facelift.

The retailer's future hung by a thread just a few weeks ago as Lampert's initial overtures were rejected, with creditors arguing that the company was worth more dead than alive.

When Lampert combined Sears and rival chain Kmart, the merged retailer had almost 3,500 stores and employed more than 300,000 people, a work force that shrank to 68,000 when it filed for bankruptcy.

But even escaping bankruptcy doesn't assure Sears' long term success. Gymboree and RadioShack are both recent examples of those trends.

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