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Sears Holdings loses Canadian vote, appeal

Toronto — Sears Canada's minority shareholders and the Ontario Securities Commission have thwarted U.S.-based Sears Holdings’ plan to take the Canadian retailer private this year.

At a special meeting of shareholders Tuesday, 81.3% of shares were voted in favor of the Sears Holdings buyout, but the bid still fell short. Securities laws require approval by a “majority of the minority” shareholders, which did not happen.

The vote came on the same day that the Ontario Securities Commission denied Sears Holdings’ appeal of an earlier OSC decision. That, in effect, derailed the bid by recognizing a smaller number of shares as part of the minority, making it easier for opponents to amass enough opposing votes.

Sears Holdings, which has long been the majority shareholder in Sears Canada with a 54% stake, also owns U.S. retailers Sears Roebuck & Co. and Kmart.

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