Men’s Wearhouse Said to Mull Bid for Allen Edmonds

Men’s Wearhouse Inc., the suit retailer that rejected a $2.3 billion offer from Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (JOSB), may bid for Allen Edmonds Corp., a closely held shoemaker, according to a person familiar with the matter.

An acquisition of Allen Edmonds won’t deter Jos. A. Bank’s pursuit of Men’s Wearhouse, said another person familiar with Jos. A. Bank’s thinking, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. Jos. A. Bank, based in Hampstead, Maryland, considers Allen Edmonds a good fit for itself and for Men’s Wearhouse, the person said.

Men’s Wearhouse has been in turmoil since directors removed founder and Executive Chairman George Zimmer in June after they disagreed on strategy. The Houston-based retailer cut its profit forecast last month and turned down Jos. A. Bank’s unsolicited $48-a-share offer disclosed Oct. 9.

Jos. A. Bank Chairman Robert Wildrick said on Oct. 16 he wouldn’t rule out making a hostile bid for Men’s Wearhouse. His offer reflects a 36 percent premium over the retailer’s closing price the day before the offer. Wildrick said he wouldn’t make a new, higher bid without looking at the company’s books and would prefer a friendly offer.

Men’s Wearhouse declined 3.7 percent to $44.82 at the close in New York, below Jos. A. Bank’s offer. Shares of Jos. A. Bank fell 2.5 percent to $48.84.

Men’s Wearhouse said in an Oct. 9 statement that Jos. A. Bank’s offer undervalues the company and “is not in the best interests of Men’s Wearhouse or its shareholders.” It adopted a so-called poison pill after the bid that effectively limits any stockholder from acquiring more than 10 percent of the shares.

Stronger Retailer

Combining the companies would create a stronger retailer, as each has strengths that can help the other grow, Wildrick said last week. The two companies have total annual sales of about $3.5 billion.

Allen Edmonds, based in Port Washington, Wisconsin, is owned by Goldner Hawn Johnson & Morrison. An acquisition of the company by Men’s Wearhouse would follow the retailer’s agreement to purchase JA Holding Inc., owner of the Joseph Abboud clothing brand, for $97.5 million. That deal, announced in July, is expected to close in the third quarter. The acquisition is part of Men’s Wearhouse’s plan for exclusive brands to make up 65 to 70 percent of the business in the long term.

Ken Dennard, a spokesman for Men’s Wearhouse, didn’t respond to a voicemail left on his mobile phone seeking comment. Chief Financial Officer Jon Kimmins didn’t return calls seeking comment. Molly Morse, a spokeswoman for Jos. A. Bank who works for Kekst & Co., declined to comment. Mike Grossman, a spokesman for Allen Edmonds who works for SCC Grossman Public Relations, didn’t return a call and e-mail seeking comment.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Men’s Wearhouse’s interest in Allen Edmonds.

To contact the reporters on this story: Duane D. Stanford in Atlanta at dstanford2@bloomberg.net; David Welch in New York at dwelch12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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