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Eminence Suit Adds Wrinkle to Jos. A. Bank Bid

Stocks in this article: JOSB MW

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Eminence Capital Tuesday, Jan. 14, turned up the pressure on Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, (JOSB) announcing plans to nominate two independent directors to the retailer's board.

New York-based Eminence, owner of 4.9% of Jos. A. Bank shares, has been trying to play match maker between the company and rival Men's Wearhouse (MW) .

Eminence also owns 9.8% of Men's Wearhouse and criticized that board last year when Men's Wearhouse turned down a $2.3 billion merger offer from Jos. A. Bank. Men's Wearhouse has since turned around and offered $1.61 billion to acquire Jos. A. Bank.

Men's Wearhouse has also indicated it intends to nominate candidates for Jos. A. Bank's board. Eminence CEO Ricky C. Sandler said his firm is "very encouraged" by that decision and said Eminence would withdraw its candidates to Jos. A. Bank's board and support Men's Wearhouse if they follow through.

"However, given that [Jos. A. Bank]'s nomination window will be closing soon, we feel compelled to submit our own slate at this time to ensure both that [Jos. A. Bank] is pursuing the combination with [Men's Wearhouse] as vigorously as possible," Sandler said.

The firm also said that it was calling off plans to seek a special meeting of Men's Wearhouse shareholders.

Eminence has filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court trying to force Jos. A. Bank to negotiate with its suitor. The investor has said, in court filings, that it believes Jos. A. Bank may be in the process of making another acquisition, something the fund said would be detrimental to a merger with Men's Wearhouse.

"We continue to urge Jos. A. Bank to sit down with Men's Wearhouse and engage in meaningful, good faith negotiations in pursuit of a business combination on terms that could deliver significant value for Jos. A. Bank shareholders," Sandler added.

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