Lampert’s Deal for Sears Is Approved, but Judge Scolds Him in the Process

A federal bankruptcy judge on Thursday approved Edward S. Lampert’s plan to buy Sears, but the judge implored Mr. Lampert to make a fresh start.

Mr. Lampert, a billionaire hedge fund manager, could avoid becoming the "cartoon character" his critics have painted him as, Judge Robert Drain said — a cross between Jay Gould, the Gilded Age robber baron, and Barney Fife, the blustery gullible sheriff on the "Andy Griffith" show.

Rather, Judge Drain said, Mr. Lampert could "take action that would in fact be of great meaning" to the company’s constituents, particularly its workers.

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