U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Gregory Kishel has given go-ahead approval for the sale of Polaroid Group, one of the few assets of Petters Group Worldwide with tangible value, with bids to open at $42 million.

Kishel approved the auction over the objections of two Petters creditors, Richie Capital Management and Acorn Capital Group, by saying that a bidding process is "fair, reasonable and appropriate" and is "designed to maximize the value" of the Petters estate.

"This allows the process to move forward. It's a big deal in that regard," said Steve Wolter, an attorney working with court-appoint receiver Doug Kelley. Bids are due March 26 and an auction will be conducted March 30.

The starting bid is $42 million, the "stalking horse" amount offered by a Delaware firm called PHC Acquisitions.

The PHC offer amounts to about 10 percent of the $426 million paid for Polariod in 2005 by Wayzata businessman Tom Petters.

Petters' business entities are in receivership and bankruptcy as the result of a government investigation into allegations of a massive investment fraud that Petters denies existed. He has been charged with conspiracy, fraud and money laundering and is in federal custody pending trial.

David Phelps • 612-673-7269