Jan 30 Men's Wearhouse Inc said it was
open to sweetening its spurned buyout offer for Jos. A. Bank
Clothiers Inc - under certain conditions - and called
on independent directors of the smaller men's clothing chain to
reconsider its bid.
Jos. A. Bank shares were up marginally in early trading
Thursday after rising as much as 3 percent before the bell.
In a letter to Jos. A. Bank's independent directors, Men's
Wearhouse said it could raise offer of $1.61 billion, or $57.50
per share, "if additional value was discovered through
discussions or limited due diligence."
A Jos. A. Bank spokesman declined to comment.
Men's Wearhouse took a revised offer to Jos. A. Bank
shareholders in early January after its rival rejected an offer
of $55 per share in December.
Jos. A. Bank has urged shareholders to reject the hostile
bid, calling it inadequate and opportunistic.
Jos. A Bank shares were trading at $55.26 on Thursday.
Men's Wearhouse, struggling to compete with department
stores that offer cheaper men's clothes, has however won support
for its bid from Eminence Capital LLC, which has significant
stakes in both companies.
Eminence has said it would seek a court ruling to prevent
Jos. A. Bank from refusing to discuss the Men's Wearhouse offer.
The Men's Wearhouse bid faces a further hurdle after federal
antitrust regulators this week posed extra questions about the
bid under a so-called "second request."
The increased scrutiny from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission
was expected as Men's Wearhouse itself raised the specter of
antitrust problems when Jos. A. Bank had offered to acquire the
company in October.
Men's Wearhouse acknowledged the antitrust risk on Thursday
and said it would cooperate with the FTC to obtain approval for
the transaction as soon as possible.
The company also called on the directors of Jos. A. Bank to
form a special committee to reconsider its bid.
Men's Wearhouse shares were little changed at $45.93 in
early trading on Thursday.