Phew. Creative Loafing, the second-largest alt-weekly chain in the country, which has been in bankruptcy for almost a year, was sold at auction yesterday to hedge fund and creditor Atalaya Capital Management.

Outgoing CEO Ben Eason borrowed $30 million from Atalaya to purchase the Chicago Reader and Washington City Paper.

Atalaya will now take control of the company with its $5 million cash winning bid, but has announced there are no “planned layoffs” and no plans to close any of Creative Loafing’s papers. In fact, the hedge fund has appointed a new board of directors which includes former LA Times editor Jim O’Shea, former president/COO of alt-weekly chain New Times(Village Voice Media) Michele Laven, and former Des Moines Register president Richard Gilbert, among others.

For the full courtroom drama, you’ll want to read the post at Creative Loafing’s Fresh Loaf blog, but here’s a taste:

“When the judge ruled Atalaya’s bid was the “highest and best,” Eason sat silently, blinked several times, and then rocked back and forth in his chair.”

(For his part, Eason says he plans to start a new media company.)