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Sears Roebuck & Co. plans to sell its credit-card business, hit by rising delinquencies among cardholders, The Wall Street Journal reported. Sears hopes to obtain as much as $7 billion for the unit, which carries $27 billion in debt but has 25 million active accounts, the Journal said. Prospective bidders reportedly include Citigroup, Bank One, and Bank of America.

Kmart Corp. scored a new victory in its plan to emerge from bankruptcy next month, as the judge overseeing the proceeding OK'd a $385 million settlement with the discount chain's former grocery supplier, Fleming Cos. The Lewisville, Texas, wholesaler had sought more than three times that amount, the Dow Jones news service reported. An attorney for Fleming indicated the allowed claim would be sold to ESL Investments of Greenwich, Conn., which is helping to fund Kmart's reorganization. Without the ruling Tuesday, litigation in the case might have taken months to resolve, both sides said.

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The New York Stock Exchange said it would seek to delist HealthSouth Corp. Tuesday, almost a week after the Securities and Exchange Commission charged the rehabilitation chain - and its suspended chief executive, Richard Scrushy - with inflating earnings by $1.4 billion. Attorneys for Scrushy also revealed he is under criminal investigation for alleged accounting fraud and insider trading. He has denied any wrongdoing.


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