NEW YORK (The Deal) -- In media interviews Wednesday, Jos. A. Bank (JOSB) chairman Robert Wildrick said a few interesting things: The company is not just going away if The Men's Wearhouse (MW) board continues to reject its approach; and major Jos. A. Bank shareholders support the idea of the takeover and also hold stakes in the target.
The first may be more interesting than the latter. Reuters reported that Wildrick said Jos. A Bank shareholders FMR LLC, Royce & Associates Inc. and Wellington Management Co. all favor the Jos. A, Bank proposal and also own shares of Men's Wearhouse. But those shareholders hold together 31% of Jos. A. Bank, according to recent filings, and only 5.5% of Men's Wearhouse. Interestingly, Wildrick could not include Blackrock Inc. in his assessment. That fund owns 8% of Jos. A. Bank and nearly 9% of Men's Wearhouse.
The remark that Jos. A. Bank is not simply walking away, however, is what the market wants to hear.
Men's Wearhouse shares moved from a spread of about $2.70 to $1.70 to the $48 offer since Tuesday.
On Oct. 10, Men's Wearhouse installed a poison pill, so making a tender offer would be potentially a sign of commitment to the deal, but in itself not a move that could succeed without the participation of the Men's Wearhouse board.
The board is not staggered, but Men's Wearhouse held its annual meeting Sept. 10, so running a proxy contest means persisting with an offer for a year.