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Authentic Brands Group, SPARC Group to Acquire Eddie Bauer

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Eddie Bauer goes under new ownership.

Authentic Brands Group, a global brand owner, marketing and entertainment company, and SPARC Group, a retail enterprise, have announced an agreement to purchase American outdoor brand Eddie Bauer from PSEB Group, an operating company owned by Golden Gate Capital.

ABG will own Eddie Bauer’s intellectual property and the brand’s core operating business will become a part of the SPARC portfolio of brands, which also includes Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand, Nautica, Aéropostale and Forever 21.

“As an iconic brand dedicated to making the outdoors more accessible and enjoyable for everyone, Eddie Bauer has built up great momentum,” says Damien Huang, president, Eddie Bauer. “I am proud of our team’s achievements to better position Eddie Bauer to compete and win in a digitally-driven, omnichannel world. We are excited to partner with ABG and SPARC, who recognize the significant opportunities ahead, and are well-positioned to help us maximize the brand’s full potential and expand our global presence as a leader among outdoor and active brands. On behalf of the entire Eddie Bauer team, we are deeply grateful for the support of Golden Gate Capital, who has been instrumental in guiding our strategy and accelerating Eddie Bauer’s growth over the course of our partnership.”

Neale Attenborough, chairman, PSEB Group and operating partner, Golden Gate Capital, says, “We have enjoyed a highly successful partnership with Eddie Bauer since 2009 and are proud of the company’s tremendous transformation during that time.” Attenborough adds, “Under Damien’s leadership and vision, Eddie Bauer has repositioned itself as a true outdoor performance brand with award-winning technical products, strong omnichannel capabilities and a loyal and growing customer base, which are driving solid results. With significant scale, unique brand-building capabilities and deep operational acumen, we are confident that ABG and SPARC are the perfect partners to enable Eddie Bauer to continue to flourish.”

After the acquisition is complete, Eddie Bauer will become part of the SPARC organization. Eddie Bauer will remain headquartered in the Seattle area under Huang’s leadership. The Eddie Bauer team, in partnership with SPARC, will manage the brand’s sourcing, product design and development, planning and allocation, wholesale and e-commerce as well as its 300 stores, which are principally located in the U.S. and Canada.

ABG will leverage Eddie Bauer’s technical performance attributes to extend into new outdoor categories and distribution. There are upcoming territory expansion opportunities in LATAM, Europe and APAC. Near-term launches in China and Korea will drive the initial phase of that growth. ABG will continue to expand the brand into other product lines in non-traditional categories.

“The addition of Eddie Bauer introduces a new and highly differentiated expertise to the SPARC organization,” says Marc Miller, chief executive officer, SPARC. “The brand pushes the boundaries of technical innovation and performance with award-winning outdoor product offerings, bringing an entirely new component to our fashion and lifestyle brand portfolio. We are excited to work closely with the Eddie Bauer team as we help drive the brand forward.”

The closing is subject to certain standard closing conditions, including U.S. and Canadian anti-trust filings and approvals. The transaction is expected to close by June 1, 2021. No financial terms were disclosed. Guggenheim Securities LLC is serving as financial advisor to PSEB and Golden Gate Capital.

“Eddie Bauer has a 100-year history of unparalleled authority in the outdoor space,” says Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Authentic Brands Group. “The global outdoor market opportunity has grown exponentially over the last year and we are ready to hit the ground running and guide this brand into new frontiers in partnership with SPARC, Damien and the rest of the Eddie Bauer team.”

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