Local investors are trying to put together a bid for Ibex, a producer of merino wool outdoor garments in Vermont. An auction is scheduled for Jan. 15. Ibex had announced a few days earlier that it had laid off 12 of its employees and that it was going to cease operations in February. Its current owner, North Castle Partners, had previously proposed to stop Ibex' wholesale activities, citing the recent shifts in the American retail space and other reasons, and to concentrate on its own retail activities.