TORONTO, July 13 (Reuters) - Sears Canada Inc was granted court approval on Thursday to proceed with a sale process that would allow the retailer to consider a range of potential deals, according to court documents.
A report by the court-appointed monitor FTI Consulting posted on its website on Wednesday said that more than 20 parties have signed non-disclosure agreements with Sears Canada as part of the planned sale process.
Earlier this week, Edward Lampert's ESL Partners LP and Fairholme, which own about two-thirds of Sears Canada, said they were considering a potential deal with the retailer and had engaged a legal adviser.
The sale process, which will be conducted by BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc, would consider bids and proposals for deals involving its business, assets and leases, either in whole or in part.
Sears Canada, which in 2012 was spun off from U.S. retailer Sears Holdings Corp, filed for creditor protection in June and laid out a restructuring plan that included cutting 2,900 jobs and closing roughly a quarter of its stores.
Sears Canada had also planned to seek an order suspending some of its employee obligations including special payments into its pension plan, post-retirement health and dental benefits and life insurance premium payments.
But the company, lawyers representing retirees, employees and former employees, and other related parties reached an agreement to continue the payments until Sept. 30. (Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)