This is a great article and Friendly Restaurants and ice cream are a New England tradition. I look forward to the bankruptcy helping them more forward.

By Michael Bathon

Dec. 29 (Bloomberg) — Friendly Ice Cream Corp., the 76- year-old restaurant chain, won court approval to sell the business, allowing it to be retained by its current owner, private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners Inc.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross approved the sale at a hearing today in Wilmington, Delaware, according to court documents. Friendly canceled its proposed Dec. 22 bankruptcy auction after it didn’t receive any qualified bids to compete with Sun Capital.

Sun Capital, based in Boca Raton, Florida, will pay about $75 million and retain ownership through a unit while allowing the Friendly’s chain to shed debt.

Friendly, which opened in 1935 with one shop in Springfield, Massachusetts, sought bankruptcy protection in October citing the struggling economy and rising commodity costs. Debt was listed at about $297 million and assets were valued at more than $100 million, according to court documents.

The Wilbraham, Massachusetts-based company, known as “Friendly’s,” closed 63 sites as part of the bankruptcy filing. Another 424 locations will stay open, Friendly said.

The case is In re Friendly Ice Cream Corp., 11-13167, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

–Editors: Peter Blumberg, Michael Hytha

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Bathon in Wilmington, Delaware, at [email protected].

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at [email protected].

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