NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Independent directors at Jos. A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) fired back at Men's Wearhouse (MW) late Sunday, saying they "see no benefit" in entering into negotiations with the hostile suitor.
Fremont, Calif.-based Men's Wearhouse on Jan. 30 sent a letter to the Jos. A. Bank directors urging them to push the company to come to the table to discuss Men's $1.61 billion bid, suggesting the company might be willing to sweeten the offer following negotiations. The suitor also implied that in refusing to negotiate Jos. A. Bank management was more concerned with preserving their own jobs rather than what was best for the company.
The Jos. A. Bank directors in response said the Jan. 30 letter made "a number of inaccurate and misleading claims" that they said "call into question the credibility" of Men's Wearhouse. The directors said Men's Wearhouse greatly understates the antitrust risks of a combination and said the proposed price is too low.
"After carefully reviewing your offer with our financial and legal advisors, we continue to believe that your offer to acquire Jos. A. Bank substantially undervalues our company and that your proposal is not in the best interests of our stockholders," company directors wrote. "Accordingly, we see no benefit in commencing negotiations with Men's Wearhouse."
Hampstead, Md.-based Jos. A. Bank also could be considering other options, with reports indicating the company has had preliminary talks with Golden Gate Capital about acquiring men's outdoor apparel maker Eddie Bauer LLC.
The letter is the latest shot in an ongoing battle between the two men's clothing retailers. Jos. A. Bank last year offered $2.3 billion for its larger rival but walked away after the bid failed to spark negotiations. Men's Wearhouse returned later in the year with a bid of its own that Jos. A. Bank has called "inadequate and opportunistic."