Sun Capital, Golden Gate Capital acquire Eddie Bauer

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Investment firms Sun Capital Partners Inc. and Golden Gate Capital have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. for $9.25 per share in cash or approximately $614 million.

The board of directors of Eddie Bauer has unanimously approved the deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2007, after it has been approved by the company's stockholders.

In May, Eddie Bauer, Redmond, WA, announced that it intended to explore strategic alternatives, including the sale of the company.

Last June the merchant emerged from Spiegel Inc.'s Chapter 11 reorganization process and became an independent company for the first time in 35 years. It was previously a wholly owned subsidiary of Spiegel Inc., which filed for bankruptcy March 17, 2003.

However, the company's results haven't been promising since it regained independence. In August, Eddie Bauer reported revenue for the second quarter ended July 1 totaled $225.7 million compared to $243.8 million in the previous year. The company's net loss for the second quarter was $42 million, or a loss of $1.40 per diluted share, compared to net income of $69.5 million in the second quarter of 2005. The company is scheduled to announce its third quarter results today.

The deal with Sun Capital Boca Raton, FL, and Golden Gate, San Francisco, represents a 12 percent premium to the prior four weeks' average closing price of Eddie Bauer's common stock.

The transaction includes $328 million in debt to be repaid and will be completed by Eddie Bauer Holding Corp , a company owned by affiliates of Sun Capital and Golden Gate.

Sun Capital and Golden Gate are active investors in the retail and consumer products sectors.

On Friday, Golden Gate announced that it had acquired Venus Swimwear Inc., WinterSilks LLC and Venus Manufacturing. The Venus Swimwear deal follows Golden Gate's September acquisition of Carabella, another swimwear title.

The WinterSilks deal is the latest in a string of acquisitions of baby-boomer oriented titles by San Francisco-based Golden Gate's portfolio company, Catalog Holdings Inc., including Appleseed's in November 2005, Norm Thompson, Solutions and Sahalie in March 2006, and Haband in October 2006.

Sun Capital owns Lillian Vernon, Mervyn's, Shopko Stores, Marsh Supermarkets, Anchor Blue Retail Group and Dim Branded Apparel.

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