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Jos A Bank open to raising Men's Wearhouse bid

Thursday - 10/31/2013, 2:51pm  ET

HAMPSTEAD, Md. (AP) -- Jos. A. Bank said Thursday that it will consider boosting its $2.3 billion buyout bid for Men's Wearhouse, but that it will drop its offer in two weeks if there continues to be no discussions on the proposal.

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. made an unsolicited offer of $48 per share for Men's Wearhouse in September. Earlier this month Men's Wearhouse Inc. rejected the bid, calling it "opportunistic" and "inadequate."

On Thursday Jos. A. Bank said it would consider raising its offer if allowed to assess whether an increased bid is justified. But the men's clothing company said that it still believes its initial bid provides "superior, immediate value" to Men's Wearhouse shareholders.

The company said that the board of Men's Wearhouse has refused to talk and said it will terminate its proposal if "good faith discussions" are not held by Nov. 14.

In a letter sent to Men's Wearhouse CEO Douglas Ewert, Jos. A. Bank Chairman Robert Wildrick said that if the talks are not held by that date it will pull its offer so that it can consider other strategic options that it has been investigating.

A call seeking comment was left with a spokesman for Men's Wearhouse but it was not immediately returned.

Jos. A. Bank sells men's tailored and casual clothing, sportswear and footwear. While it targets a more established male professional, it's known for generous promotions like buying one suit or sport coat and getting three for free.

Houston-based Men's Wearhouse sells men's sportswear and suits through its namesake chain of stores, as well as the Moores and K&G retail chains. Recently, it's been going after younger shoppers with suits with slimmer silhouettes. It's also trying to raise the average ticket price and announced in July that it's buying upscale Joseph Abboud brand for about $97.5 million in cash.

Men's Wearhouse has 1,137 stores and is also in the tuxedo-rental business. Its shares fell $1.01, or 2.3 percent, to $42.65 in afternoon trading.

Jos. A. Bank, based in Hampstead, Md., has 628 stores in 44 states and the District of Columbia. Its stock declined $2.33, or 4.7 percent, to $47.50 in afternoon trading.


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