Sears, the 125-year-old icon, has 24 hours to survive. 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, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. Without that bid or another like it, liquidators will break the company up into pieces. But as Lampert stares down a deadline of Dec. 28 to submit his offer, he is quickly running out of time.