These two retailers just can’t find a good fit. Joseph A. Bank Clothiers (JOSB) today rejected a $1.54 billion purchase offer from Men’s Wearhouse (MW) as insufficient and made clear it wants to keep looking for a deal elsewhere.
The offer from Men’s Wearhouse—which Jos. A Bank had previously tried to acquire—”significantly undervalued the Company and its near and long-term potential and was not in the best interest of the Company’s shareholders,” Bank’s chairman, Robert Wildrick, said in a statement. However, he added, its board continues to review “all alternatives regarding potential strategic acquisition opportunities” to benefit shareholders.
That desire may eventually pay off with Men’s Wearhouse. The company issued a statement to make clear it is not dropping the issue and is “continuing to carefully consider all of our options to make this combination a reality, including nominating director candidates at Jos. A. Bank’s next annual meeting of shareholders.”
In October, Jos. A. Bank had offered $2.3 billion for Houston-based Men’s Wearhouse. Its offer was spurned as being opportunistic, an effort to acquire the larger retailer at a low-ball price following a bruising public divorce from co-founder George Zimmer in June. The following month, Men’s Wearhouse jumped from target to buyer, a move known as the “Pac-Man defense” (after the video-game character who sometimes turns around and eats the ghosts, not after Adam “Pacman” Jones, who would probably do the same given the chance). Several analysts and Men’s Wearhouse shareholders said it made more sense for that company to be an acquirer, given its larger size and deeper financial resources.
Given all the M&A to-and-fro between these two, and the complementary operational fits—not to mention cost savings—some combination of these two companies is likely to occur, “though I can’t predict which side will be the acquirer,” says Mark Montagna, an analyst with Avondale Partners in Nashville, Tenn. In an e-mail today, he says Jos. A. Bank “left the door open for a higher bid” and expects that a price of $56 to $61 per share would persuade Jos. A. Bank directors. Men’s Wearhouse offered $55 per share for the company on Nov. 26, a 32 percent premium over Bank’s closing share price before the deal was announced.
Jos. A. Bank shares fell about 1.4 percent in morning trading but remained above Men’s Wearhouse’s offer price.