(Reuters) - Men's Wearhouse Inc MW.N and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc JOSB.O are engaged in a protracted battle over who should play the lead role in creating an entity that would sell suits and rent tuxedos from about 1,700 stores in North America.
Jos. A. Bank set the ball rolling in October 2013 with a $2.3 billion offer for its larger rival. Men's Wearhouse turned the tables in November with a $1.5 billion counterbid, which it raised in January to $1.61 billion.
Men's Wearhouse on February 24 boosted its offer by more than 10 percent to $1.78 billion, a few days after the smaller company offered to buy outdoor clothing retailer Eddie Bauer in an effort to stay independent.
Following are some of the key developments in the long-running saga:
June 21, 2013 - Jos. A. Bank says considering strategic options, including acquisitions, to fuel growth.
Oct 8 - A Wall Street Journal report says Jos. A. Bank has approached Men's Wearhouse about a potential tie-up.
Oct 9 - Jos. A. Bank offers to buy Men's Wearhouse for about $2.3 billion, or $48 per share. Men's Wearhouse swiftly rejects the offer. The company's shares close below the offer price at $45.03 after hitting a high of $45.56.
Oct 16 - Jos A. Bank says its bid has received support from a majority of shareholders with big stakes in both companies.
Oct 22 - Wall Street Journal says Men's Wearhouse is looking to buy dress-shoe retailer Allen Edmonds. A deal could value Allen Edmonds at $150 million to $200 million.
Oct 31 - Jos. A. Bank says may raise its offer if allowed access to its larger rival's books for due diligence. The company warns it would drop the proposal if Men's Wearhouse did not engage in talks by November 14.
Men's Wearhouse shares fall 2.87 percent during the day to close at $42.30. Jos. A. Bank shares marginally rise.
Nov 7 - Hedge fund Eminence Capital LLC, which holds a nearly 10 percent stake in Men's Wearhouse, asks the company to start talks with Jos. A. Bank. Eminence Capital also holds a stake in Jos. A. Bank.
Men's Wearhouse shares gain 6.22 percent to end at $45.43. Jos. A. Bank stock dips 1.10 percent.
Nov 12 - Eminence Capital says Men's Wearhouse will review the Jos. A. Bank's offer.
Men's Wearhouse stock end 2.48 percent higher at $47.08. Jos. A. Bank shares down marginally.
Nov 15 - Jos. A. Bank terminates its offer but does not rule out another bid for its larger rival.
Men's Wearhouse shares rise 2.15 percent, Jos. A. Bank's stock 1.54 percent.
Nov 26 - Men's Wearhouse strikes back at Jos. A. Bank with a $1.5 billion bid. Stocks of both companies rise about 13 percent. Jos. A. Bank shares rise to $56.91, above the offer price of $55.00 per share.
Both stocks close down marginally.
Dec 3 - Sycamore Partners LLC is in advanced talks to acquire off-price chain store K&G from Men's Wearhouse, four people familiar with the matter tell Reuters.
Dec 23 - Jos. A. Bank rebuffs Men's Wearhouse's bid.
Men's Wearhouse says would consider nominating director candidates at Jos. A. Bank's next annual shareholders' meeting.
Men's Wearhouse stock rises, Jos. A. Bank shares dip.
Jan 3, 2014 - Jos. A. Bank lowers the trigger for its poison pill to 10 percent from 20 percent, making it tougher for Men's Wearhouse to pursue a bid.
Jan 6 - Men's Wearhouse mounts a hostile $1.61 billion bid for Jos. A. Bank with a raised offer of $57.50 per share. Says intends to nominate two independent directors to Jos. A. Bank's board.
Men's Wearhouse shares end the day flat. Jos. A. Bank stock close down marginally at $56.87.
Jan 13 - Eminence Capital, which holds about 5 percent of Jos. A. Bank, says will seek a court ruling to prevent the company from refusing to discuss the Men's Wearhouse offer.
Jan 14 - Eminence Capital says plans to nominate two independent directors to Jos. A. Bank's board if Men's Wearhouse's slate is rejected. The hedge fund says will back Men's Wearhouse's nominees if they are still in the running at the time of the Jos. A. Bank's annual meeting.
Jan 17 - Jos. A. Bank's board recommends shareholders reject the $1.61 billion hostile bid from Men's Wearhouse, calling it inadequate.
Jan 30 - Men's Wearhouse says open to sweetening its spurned buyout offer under certain conditions.
Feb 1 - A source tells Reuters that Jos. A. Bank is in talks to buy retailer Eddie Bauer Inc GOLGCU.UL from private equity owner Golden Gate Capital.
Feb 2 - Jos. A. Bank rejects yet another offer, saying the proposal still undervalues the company.
Feb 14 - Jos. A. Bank said it would acquire the Eddie Bauer clothing brand from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for an enterprise value of $825 million in cash and stock, making its first move into women's apparel and footwear.
Jos. A. Bank also said it would start a share buyback worth $300 million after the deal closed.
Feb 18 - Jos. A. Bank's planned acquisition of outdoor sportswear retailer Eddie Bauer defies logic given that the companies cater to different customers, says Eminence Capital.
Feb 24 - Men's Wearhouse raises its offer to buy Jos. A. Bank by over 10 percent to $63.50 per share and says it could increase the offer to $65.00 if it was able to conduct limited due diligence.
Writing by Sriraj Kalluvila