Jos. A. Bank's offer for Eddie Bauer defies logic: shareholder

Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:11pm EST

Feb 18 (Reuters) - Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc's planned acquisition of outdoor sportswear retailer Eddie Bauer defies logic given that the companies cater to different customers, according to one of the men's apparel retailer's shareholders.

The deal is "a poor strategic fit," said Eminence Capital LLC, which has been pushing for a merger between Jos. A. Bank and rival Men's Wearhouse Inc. Eminence is the top shareholder in Men's Wearhouse.

Jos. A. Bank and Men's Wearhouse - both of whom are known for renting and selling tuxedos - have made and spurned offers for each other over the past few months. Earlier this month, Jos. A Bank rejected a $1.6 billion offer from Men's Wearhouse.

Last week, Jos. A. Bank offered to buy Eddie Bauer for $825 million, which would not only keep it independent, but also mark its move into women's apparel and footwear.

"Not only have you turned your back on an acquirer prepared to pay a substantial premium for the company, but you plan to deploy significant and valuable company resources into a troubling and risky sector ... in which you have absolutely no experience," Eminence said in a letter to Jos. A. Bank on Tuesday.

More than 40 percent of Eddie Bauer's sales are to women and virtually all of its products are outside of Jos. A. Bank's core men's tailored clothing business, said the New-York based asset management firm.

Jos. A. Bank was not immediately available for comment.

The company's shares were down 1.8 percent at $54.13 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. Men's Wearhouse shares were up slightly at $44.2 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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