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Eminence Backs Men's Wearhouse (MW) in Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) Battle

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Will this song and dance never end? After months of will-they-won't-they speculation over a Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) and Men's Wearhouse (MW) partnering, Eminence Capital has stepped in to urge the former to accept the bid.

Eminence, which owns 4.9% in Jos. A. Bank common stock, announced Tuesday it intends to nominate two independent directors to the retailer's board at the company's annual meeting this year.

"Our nominees will be highly-qualified, retail industry experts who will be committed to maximizing shareholder value," said Eminence CEO Ricky C. Sandler. "We feel compelled to submit our own slate at this time to ensure both that JOSB is pursuing the combination with MW as vigorously as possible, and that JOSB directors will be held accountable if they approve an alternative transaction or cause JOSB to take other action before the annual meeting that would frustrate a transaction with MW.

"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," he continued.

Last week, Men's Wearhouse increased its bid for Jos. A. Bank to $57.50 a share from November's offer of $55 a share. The tender offer will expire on March 28, unless extended. The Houston-based business and larger of the two said it would also put forth two nominees to Jos. A. Bank's board.

On Monday this week, Eminence Capital, which also owns a nearly 10% stake in Men's Wearhouse, said it supports the company's bid and filed a court complaint with the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware to block Jos. A. Bank from making an offer of its own or engaging in acquisitions or mergers with other retailers.

"Absent this Court's exercise of its equitable powers, the members of the Jos. A. Bank Board will succeed in killing a highly attractive business combination, destroying the value of Jos. A. Bank's shares through an ill-advised acquisition, and entrenching themselves," Eminence noted in the court complaint. "The Men's Wearhouse proposal is highly attractive and offers clear value that the stockholders of both companies would achieve through a combination of these two retailers-a view that is virtually unanimous amongst the investment community."

The prospect of an acquisition began in October last year when Jos. A. Bank made an unsolicited acquisition offer worth $2.3 billion for its larger rival. Shortly after, Men's Wearhouse rejected the bid and made an offer of its own, going from pursued to pursuer.

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