Eddie Bauer Files for Bankruptcy, Read Actual SEC Press Release
Neil Fiske, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eddie Bauer, said, “Eddie Bauer is a good company with a great brand and a bad balance sheet. This process will allow the business to emerge with far less debt, positioned for growth as the economy recovers and as our new products gain traction. We expect this process to be completed very quickly, protecting our employees and critical vendor partners every step of the way.
“We have made good progress on our turnaround strategy of returning Eddie Bauer to its heritage as an active outdoor brand and have exciting new product launches on the way to market, including First Ascent, our return to expedition-grade outerwear and gear. Unfortunately, a crushing debt burden placed on the Company from the Spiegel reorganization in 2005, combined with the severe, prolonged recession, have left us with no choice but to use this process to reduce the debt load on the business.” For additional background, a statement from Mr. Fiske is attached.
The Company has secured a commitment from its existing revolving credit lenders, Bank of America, N.A., GE Capital Corporation and CIT Group/Business Credit, Inc. for so-called Debtor-in-Possession (DIP) financing of $90 on an interim basis and $100 million based on final court order, which it believes will provide ample liquidity to meet its ongoing obligations during the sale process.
In April 2009, the Company negotiated an amendment with its senior term loan lenders that provided short-term relief on its loan covenants. The Company explored various paths for restructuring its balance sheet, but was ultimately unable to reach an agreement.
The Company has filed customary “First Day” motions seeking Bankruptcy Court approval of various types of relief designed to support its employees, customers and suppliers during the sale process, including motions to allow the Company to continue to pay suppliers under normal terms for goods and services; to pay its employees in the usual manner and to continue without disruption their primary benefits; and to continue the Company’s customer programs including its gift card, merchandise return, Friends and other programs.