Golden Gate Finally Gets Eddie Bauer

A well-known player in the multichannel selling industry has emerged the winner in yesterday’s auction for the assets of Eddie Bauer Holdings.

Private equity firm Golden Gate Capital’s all-cash bid of $286 million was accepted as the best offer for the bankrupt outdoor apparel cataloger/retailer.

That’s a bit better than the $202 million Eddie Bauer was going to get from CCMP Capital. After filing for protection under Chapter 11 of U.S. Bankruptcy Code in June, Eddie Bauer planned to sell its assets to CCMP.

Other bidders for Eddie Bauer reportedly included Iconix Brand Group and VF Corp., as well as other investment firms and liquidators. Golden Gate’s bid will be presented to the bankruptcy court on Wednesday for approval; it expects the transaction to close early next month.

This is not Golden Gate’s first play for Eddie Bauer: The investment firm, along with Sun Capital, had agreed to buy Eddie Bauer back in November 2006. But Eddie Bauer shareholders in March 2007 voted against the proposed sale because the price—$614 million—was too low.

Bellevue, WA-based Eddie Bauer has been struggling for years due to a heavy debt load from its former parent Spiegel and the recession. The company did $971.3 million in sales for fiscal 2008, down from $989.4 million in 2007.

Golden Gate has said it will retain most of the 88-year-old merchant’s 370 stores and 10,000 global employees.