Just as we wrote about Eddie Bauer's new First Ascent line of outdoor gear, to be launched with a climb of Everest that's currently underway, there are reports the Bellevue company may be sold. Bloomberg News is reporting that the money-losing company may be sold. Founded in 1920, Eddie Bauer became a minor holding of General Mills (in the '70s) and later Spiegel (in the '80s) before the latter company declared bankruptcy in 2003. Now a public company led by CEO Neil Fiske, Eddie Bauer is attempting to rebrand itself during a terrible economic period for all retailers. Northwest outdoors lovers who retain a nostalgic affection for its shotguns, fly fishing rods, and goose down vests may have a rooting interest in the (now) local company's turnaround.
But, says Bloomberg, the two companies in talks to buy Eddie Bauer, Gordon Brothers Group and Hilco Consumer Capital LLC, are based in Boston and Toronto, respectively. Both are vulture capital firms that buy distressed brands like The Sharper Image. Unfortunately, Eddie Bauer fits precisely into that category, having lost 80 percent of its value on the Nasdaq during the last year, per Bloomberg.
So maybe the company's next big product line will be Red Sox baseball apparel, or hockey wear.