Men's Wearhouse to Jos A. Bank: Let's meet

FREMONT, Calif. (AP) Men's Wearhouse told Jos. A. Bank on Friday that it needs some more information before the rival men's clothing retailers can hammer out an acquisition agreement.

The Houston company's CEO, Douglas S. Ewert, said in a letter to Jos. A. Bank Chairman Robert N. Wildrick that the company would send their rival a list of limited information they needed to review in connection with a proposed acquisition bid. Men's Wearhouse also said it was ready to meet to discuss the structure of a deal and the next steps needed to complete it.

"We look forward to reaching a transaction that creates value for all of our shareholders," Ewert wrote.

The letter was sent a day after Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. rejected the latest acquisition bid from Men's Wearhouse but said it was willing to meet and discuss a higher bid.

Men's Wearhouse Inc. had offered $63.50 per share for Jos. A. Bank, which was up from its prior bid of $57.50 per share. It also had said it could raise the bid to $65 per share, if some conditions are met.

The two companies have been trading acquisition proposals since October, when Jos. A. Bank offered to buy its larger rival for $2.3 billion. Men's Wearhouse rejected that offer and turned the tables, offering to buy its rival for $1.54 billion. But after Hampstead, Md.-based Jos. A Bank turned down that overture, Men's Wearhouse increased its bid to $1.6 billion, and then again to $1.78 billion.

Men's Wearhouse shares jumped 5.2 percent, or $2.61, to $53.03 in midmorning trading Friday, while Jos. A. Bank shares rose 2.5 percent, or $1.50, to $61.80 as broader trading indexes rose slightly.