Judge clears Lampert’s bid to salvage Sears

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. — Sears Holdings Chairman Eddie Lampert’s $5.2 billion bid for the company has received the backing of a New York bankruptcy judge. In approving the offer, made through an affiliate of Lampert’s ESL Investments hedge fund, Judge Robert Drain rejected arguments by unsecured creditors that the sale was flawed and the company would be more valuable liquidated. The decision clears the way for Lampert to keep about 425 stores and 45,000 jobs afloat. Without a concrete turnaround plan, however, Lampert is only buying time for now. He has faced criticism for not investing in Sears stores, with many left looking dated and uninviting at a time when competition from e-retail remains fierce.