August 19, 2019
Latest News

Bankruptcy judge says he will approve Lampert purchase of Sears

Bangkok Desk, Feb 8 (efe-epa).- A bankruptcy judge said Thursday he would approve Edward Lampert's bid to purchase SearsHoldings Corp., a decision that will keep the doors open at more than 400 stores and see 45,000 people keep their jobs, Dow Jones Newswires reported in an article made available to Efe.

Judge Robert Drain of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in White Plains, N.Y., said he would sign off on Mr. Lampert's $5.2 billion offer to purchase the retailer despite opposition from a number of the company's creditors, including its big landlords. Lawyers for those creditors had spent the past several days poking holes in Mr. Lampert's bid and arguing he would have trouble keeping the company afloat even if the sale was approved.

But Judge Drain in court Thursday said the Sears chairman and his hedge fund, ESL Investments, have a credible plan to keep 425 stores open immediately, and that the sale marks an opportunity for Sears to better communicate with its vendors and employees.

Mr. Lampert, who combined Sears and rival Kmart in 2005 and recently served as the company's chief executive before leaving that role as part of the bankruptcy filing, has fought since the outset of the bankruptcy to keep control of Sears.

"During the course of this case, Mr. Lampert, particularly, and ESL, generally, have been the subject to substantial verbal abuse," Judge Drain said at the end of Thursday's hearing. "He is a wealthy individual and a big boy, and I guess he can take it."

The billionaire hedge-fund manager emerged with control of Sears after a dayslong auction last month. By sweetening his bid at the last minute, he was able to trump a plan by some creditors to liquidate the unprofitable company and close all its remaining stores.

His bid for Sears got a boost Thursday when the company's bankruptcy lawyer to the court said that the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. had resolved its $1.7 billion claim against the company and would back Mr. Lampert's proposal to buy hundreds of stores out of bankruptcy. The government pension insurer, which was Sears's largest unsecured creditor, is taking over the company's underfunded pension plans.

Although Mr. Lampert emerges from Sears's bankruptcy with the remains of his retail empire intact, the hedge-fund manager still faces creditors' lawsuits regarding past transactions he oversaw at the company, including the spinoffs of Sears's Lands' End business and some of the retailer's best properties to real-estate investment trust Seritage Growth Properties.

Sears's creditors claim Mr. Lampert and ESL deployed a dizzying series of stock buybacks, spinoffs and dividends to rake in billions of dollars while stripping the 126-year-old company of assets and cash.

Mr. Lampert has repeatedly denied accusations that he steered Sears into ruin for his own benefit. When he made money selling off the company's real estate and businesses, so did other shareholders, he has said.

Mr. Lampert, who is also Sears's largest creditor and biggest shareholder, will own all its real estate and hold on to the Kenmore and DieHard brands.

What remains to be seen is whether Mr. Lampert's victory is also a victory for Sears itself. The deal will keep open hundreds of stores and preserve jobs, but the company has left open the possibility that it may need to close more stores and cut more jobs in the future.

More broadly, a postbankruptcy Sears must learn to navigate a rapidly changing industry that it once dominated. The department store chain continues to lose money and lacks the scale to compete effectively with Inc. and Walmart Inc., analysts and executives say.

Some retailers, such as Mattress Firm Inc. and Payless ShoeSource Inc., have emerged from bankruptcy after shedding debt and shutting hundreds of stores. Others, such as Toys "R" Us and RadioShack, have disappeared. Still others, including Gymboree Group Inc. and Wet Seal Inc., emerged only to wind up back under court protection.

"The judge was swayed by the 'save jobs' argument," said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. "But I think the judge is as unrealistically hopeful as Eddie Lampert. Usually a new management team is brought in [after a bankruptcy], but this has been Eddie for years and it's still going to be Eddie after this."

By Lillian Rizzo

News history
China urges Trump to keep his word, allow business with Huawei in US

Beijing, Aug 19 (efe-epa).- Beijing on Monday urged Donald Trump to keep his word and allow companies in the United States to do business with Chinese tech...

Japan's trade deficit widened by 9.8 percent in July

Tokyo, Jul 19 (efe-epa).- Japan had a trade deficit of 249.6 billion yen ($2.35 billion) in July, a 9.8-percent increase compared to the same month last...

Trump acknowledges US' interest in buying Greenland from Denmark

Washington DC, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States on Sunday said that Greenland was strategically interesting for his country, although...

Trump defends China policy, says US economy is world's best

Washington, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his strategy versus China, on whose goods Washington has imposed heavy tariffs as...

Lacunza to be Argentina's new treasury minister as Dujovne quits

Buenos Aires, Aug 18 (efe-epa).- President Mauricio Macri said Sunday that Hernan Lacunza "is the right person" to replace former Finance Minister Nicolas...

Anti-government rally in Hong Kong

By Steven Russolillo, Joanne Chiu and Eli Binder

Quito video art makes viewers reflect on migration, environment and memories

Quito, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- An unprecedented exhibition in the Ecuadorian capital is making viewers reflect on such concepts as migration, the environment and...

Delivery workers unite to protect themselves from Mexico City dangers

By Zoilo Carrillo

Woody Allen wraps up filming of new romantic comedy set in Spain

San Sebastian, Spain, Aug 16 (efe-epa).- American director Woody Allen on Friday completed shooting on his latest movie, a romantic comedy filmed in Spain...

UK government names Ataer Holdings preferred bidder for British Steel

By Oliver Griffin

Foreign tourism to Mexico up 7 pct. in 1st half of 2019

Mexico City, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- The number of foreign tourist arrivals in Mexico in the first half of 2019 rose 7 percent relative to the same period of...

Iran: US attempt to stop release of seized tanker an act of attempted piracy

Tehran, Aug 15 (efe-epa).- Iran on Thursday said the United States' unsuccessful attempt to prevent Gibraltar's authorities from releasing a seized Iranian...

Alibaba's sales jump 42%, beating expectations

By Stu Woo

Japanese economy starts feeling effects of diplomatic spat with South Korea

By Antonio Hermosin

Bogota has many advantages in attracting foreign investment

Bogota, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- In the past 10 years, Bogota has received some $20 billion in foreign investment via more than 1,100 projects that have created...

Wall Street plunges, Dow Jones down 3.05 pct.

New York, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- Wall Street closed Wednesday with heavy losses and the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the benchmark indicator, dropped 3.05...

Panama Canal optimistic after China gets reprieve on US tariffs

Panama City, Aug 14 (efe-epa).-The Panama Canal on Wednesday applauded the United States government's decision to postpone new tariffs on a range of Chinese...

ECLAC: FDI in Latin America up last year for 1st time since 2012

Santiago, Aug 14 (efe-epa).-Foreign direct investment in Latin America rose 13.2 percent in 2018, ending a five-year spell of FDI contraction, the Economic...

Germany's economy contracts by 0.1 percent in Q2

Berlin, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- Germany's economy contracted by 0.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019, the country's statistics office said in a statement...

Hong Kong court bans protests from airport

Hong Kong, Aug 14 (efe-epa).- A Hong Kong court on Wednesday ordered demonstrators to cease their protests at the city's airport and to stop interfering...

CBS, Viacom to merge, creating ViacomCBS

New York, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- CBS and Viacom announced on Tuesday a merger agreement that will reunite the two companies, which previously merged but then...

Brazil successfully completes auction of port terminals

Rio de Janeiro, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- The Brazilian government raised 148.5 million reais (about $37.5 million) on Tuesday from auctions of terminals on the...

Brazil teeters on brink of recession

Carlos Meneses Sanchez

US to delay imposing tariffs on some products from China

Washington, Aug 13 (efe-epa).- The US government said Tuesday it would hold off on imposing 10 percent tariffs on certain products imported from China until...

I agree Welcome to We use cookies to improve your online experience. Find out more.