Court approves BGC Partners’ purchase of Grubb

A Manhattan federal bankruptcy judge this morning issued a ruling approving BGC Partners’ acquisition of troubled California-based real estate brokerage Grubb & Ellis, free and clear of any liens.

The ruling is a victory for BGC, headed by CEO Howard Lutnick, which had come under criticism from Grubb brokers who objected to several details of the bankruptcy proposal, including a plan to pay many commissions through loans.

Bankruptcy judge Martin Glenn entered the order approving the sale just after 9 a.m., this morning, court records show, allowing BGC’s purchase of the sale to go through. The sale approval document did not note when the acquisition would close, but a document filed by Grubb attorneys on March 21 says the “anticipated” closing day was March 30.

BGC did not immediately respond to a request for comment and Grubb declined to comment.

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BGC was the first and only bidder for Grubb & Ellis, which filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan Feb. 20 with the plan that BGC would buy it.

Nearly immediately after the bankruptcy filing, creditors began to dispute the speedy sale process. Ultimately, companies and individual brokers filed more than 700 objections to the sale, court records show.

A hearing to consider the selected creditor claim amounts — such as broker commissions — was set for April 18, court records show.