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Vornado gives green light to Sears/Kmart merger

PARAMUS, N.J. — Vornado Realty Trust on Monday said it would support and vote in favor of the Sears/Kmart merger, ending months of uncertainty over whether it would mount a challenge to the transaction.

In a short statement, the commercial and retail real estate operator said it would elect to receive stock as consideration in the merger. Sears stockholders may choose either stock or a cash payout in the transaction.Vornado currently holds nearly 1.2 million shares of Sears’ stock and a derivative position for an additional 7.9 million shares.Vornado last week participated in the $6.6 billion buyout of Toys R Us, teaming with Bain Capital Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts to grab the entire company from other bidders. Toys R Us company executives have confirmed that some of the toy retailer’s real estate will be sold off.Last month, Vornado filed a shelf registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission for up to $7.7 billion in securities and debt.The filing fueled speculation that began with theNov. 17, 2004announcement of the Sears merger that Vornado might try to challenge investor Eddie Lampert’s plan to join the companies. Vornado reportedly took a position in Sears only weeks before the merger was announced.

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