NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Jos A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) is considering "strategic opportunities to enhance shareholder value," which include potential acquisitions and hired investment banking firm Financo to assist it, according to a press release issued late Friday.
Could it mean a possible merger with its competitor Men's Wearhouse (MW)?
Shares of Men's Wearhouse slipped 2.8% this week after the men's specialty retailer announced that George Zimmer, its co-founder, executive chairman and brand spokesman had been "terminated." The abrupt press release on Tuesday also said the company was postponing its annual shareholder meeting, which was supposed to happen the same day.
Men's Wearhouse wasn't exactly forthcoming with the reason why it had fired Zimmer, who opened his first store in Texas 40 years ago and is famously known for being featured in the company's television ads saying in his raspy voice, "You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it." However, Zimmer in his own comment to CNBC said that he had concerns about the direction in which the company was heading and had expressed them to the board over the past several months."Instead of fostering the kind of dialogue in the Boardroom that has in part contributed to our success, the Board has inappropriately chosen to silence my concerns through termination as an executive officer," he told CNBC. Hampstead, Md.-based Jos A. Bank said it was looking at various "opportunities," including selective, long-term accretive acquisitions. The company intends to retain capital not needed for operations, it said. It did not give a timetable for any acquisition. Jos A. Bank currently has 607 stores in 44 states. Jos A. Bank's fiscal 2013 sales reached $1 billion, it reported in February. "Since our reinvention in 1999, the board and management have been committed to long-term growth. To that end, we have built an extraordinarily strong balance sheet with substantial liquid assets and no bank debt," Andrew Giordano, Jos A. Bank's lead independent director said in the release. "Those assets are critical to our efforts to enhance shareholder value, both through strategic opportunities (such as acquisitions) and organic growth. Our pursuit of strategic opportunities is part of our philosophy of long-term planning and decision-making." Jos A. Bank shares were rising 1.5% to $40.24 in after-hours trading. -- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York. Follow @LKulikowski To contact Laurie Kulikowski, send an email to: Laurie.Kulikowski@thestreet.com. >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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