Golden Gate Wins Eddie Bauer Auction

WILMINGTON, Del. (Reuters) – Golden Gate Capital won an auction for the assets of Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc with an all-cash bid of $286 million, the bankrupt outdoor apparel retailer said on Friday.

Eddie Bauer filed for protection under Chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code in June with a plan to sell its assets to CCMP Capital for $202 million. The CCMP bid set the floor for the auction.

Eddie Bauer said Golden Gate will retain the majority of the company’s 370 stores and 10,000 global employees in the reorganized company.

The retailer also attracted the attention of VF Corp (VFC.N), which owns outdoor brands such names as North Face, Reef and Kipling.

Iconix Brand Group Inc (ICON.O), which owns a host of fashion brands including Joe Boxer, discussed a bid with liquidators Hudson Capital Partners, Great American Group LLC, SB Capital Group LLC and Tiger Capital Group LLC, according to a Hudson Capital executive.

Eddie Bauer was founded in Seattle in 1920 as a sports shop. The retailer and catalog company reported revenues of more than $1 billion last year, but a lingering U.S. recession left it unable to service its debts, which it listed as $427 million in its bankruptcy filing.

The company has reported losses for the last three years.

Tight credit markets have forced many bankrupt retailers such as Filene’s Basement to auction of their assets, rather than reorganize their business, as the best way to pay creditors.

The Golden Gate bid will be presented to the bankruptcy court on Wednesday for approval. The company expects the transaction to close in early August.

The case is In re: Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, no. 09-12099. (Reporting by Tom Hals; Editing by Derek Caney)