Authentic Brands Group and the largest U.S. mall operator agreed to buy Bellevue-based outdoor clothing and gear merchant Eddie Bauer, adding another well-known brand to a portfolio of retail names.
Authentic and SPARC Group are acquiring Eddie Bauer, including its 300 stores and e-commerce business, from a unit of Golden Gate Capital, according to a Friday statement. SPARC is a joint venture between Authentic and Simon Property Group. Terms weren’t disclosed.
The purchase is the latest in a series of retail deals for Simon and Authentic, which once restricted itself to buying just brands rather than brick and mortar presence. They teamed up last year to purchase Brooks Brothers Group and Forever 21 out of bankruptcy and preserve store locations. Another partner in the Forever 21 acquisition, Brookfield Property Partners, converted its stake to equity in Authentic this year.
Private-equity firm Golden Gate bought Eddie Bauer out of bankruptcy in 2009, another period that saw a rash of retailers seeking court protection. Sales of outdoor gear thrived during the pandemic as Americans sought diversion from lockdowns and worries over the disease.
The new owners plan to keep Eddie Bauer headquartered in the Seattle area and under the leadership of current President Damien Huang. The deal is expected to close by June 1.
The company, launched by the Northwest outdoorsman for whom it is named, has struggled in recent decades, going through several owners and business strategies and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It reduced its downtown Seattle presence from a flagship store at Fifth Avenue and Union Street to a location at Pacific Place mall, which closed after a dozen years in 2017.
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