Sears faces liquidation if Lampert can't secure financing

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He said he meant to bid $4.6 billion for 500 stores and other operating assets, including the Kenmore appliance brand.

That proposal would keep Sears in business and preserve "tens of thousands of jobs", Lampert's hedge fund said in a letter to Sears' investment banker earlier this month. ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole, people familiar with the situation told CNBC.

The closures include Sears stores in the Rockford suburb of Cherry Valley and in downstate Fairview Heights, near St. Louis, according to a list from the retailer.

In a bankruptcy court hearing last week, Sears' attorneys said it is considering bidders for its assets who would shut down the company. "Lampert has been trying to get financing, but it's likely he'll get pushback from the creditors - even if he does submit an offer in time".

Sears plans to close 80 more stores across the U.S.in March, as the bankrupt retailer may be forced to liquidate its business entirely, CNBC has learned.

Now comes the announcement of 80 more stores on the chopping block.

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The deadline to buy Sears Holdings out of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is at 3 p.m. Friday.

Sears had limited success selling its assets.

Spokespeople for Sears and Lampert declined to comment Thursday. The tipping point for the company came with a $134 million payment it could not make, the news outlet reported. As part of the deal, ESL would also forgive $1.8 billion of debt that the retailer owes the hedge fund.

Creditors have called Lambert's financing plan to keep Sears alive, "foolhardy gamble with other people's money", according to court filings.

At the end of November, Sears offered grim projections for holiday sales, expecting to burn through cash most weeks.

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