Jos. A. Bank in talks to acquire Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer gets caught in-between Jos. A. Bank and Men's Wearhouse acquisition battle.
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Menswear brand and retailer Jos. A Bank is reportedly in private talks to acquire outdoor brand and retailer Eddie Bauer, according to sources cited by the Wall Street Journal.

Company officials declined to comment.

Such a deal would bring more change to Eddie Bauer, which continues to evolve since being purchased out of bankruptcy by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital in 2009.

Since then, Eddie Bauer has focused on returning to its outdoor roots, first under the leadership of Neil Fiske, and despite his departure in early 2012, continuing with the hires of former The North Face executives Michael Egeck as CEO and Dan Templin as CFO. So far, it's worked, returning the business beyond $1 billion in annual sales.

The brand’s reported talks with Jos. A. Bank come at a time when the latter is also under acquisition speculation, recently rejecting a bid by rival Men’s Wearhouse, which Jos. A. Bank initially tried to acquire in October.

So, if you’re keeping track at home — Jos. A. Bank tries to acquire Men’s Wearhouse; Men’s Wearhouse, in return, tries to acquire Jos. A. Bank; Jos. A. Bank enters talks to acquire Eddie Bauer.

It’s not all a tangled web — there are connections. Eddie Bauer’s owner, Golden Gate Capital, put forth funds to help Jos. A. Bank with its initial offer to buy Men’s Warehouse.

--David Clucas

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