Sears may be down to its last hours

    Sears, the 125-year-old icon, has hours to survive, CNBC reports.

    The employer of more than 68,000 filed for bankruptcy in October. Its last shot at survival is a $4.6 billion proposal put forward by its chairman, Eddie Lampert, to buy the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole. Without that bid or another like it, liquidators will break the company up into pieces.

    But as Lampert stares down a 4 p.m. deadline to submit his offer, he is quickly running out of time. Should Lampert miss the deadline, it would put Sears and Kmart on the path to liquidation.

    As of Thursday afternoon, Lampert had neither submitted his bid nor rounded up financing, according to those familiar with the situation. Should Lampert submit a bid, Sears’ advisors would have until Jan. 4 to decide whether he is a “qualified bidder.” Only then, could ESL take part in an auction against liquidation bids on Jan. 14.

    Due to requirements by the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lampert will be required to make his bid public.

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