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Jos. A. Bank rejects Men's Wearhouse bid, says open to talks

A sign for clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
A sign for clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York February 14, 2014. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) - Men's apparel retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc rejected Men's Wearhouse Inc's revised takeover offer calling it inadequate, but said it was willing to talk with its larger rival about a higher bid.

Jos. A. Bank shares rose 3.8 percent in trading after the bell on Thursday, while Men's Wearhouse shares rose 2.2 percent.

Men's Wearhouse on Monday raised its cash tender offer to Jos. A. Bank shareholders to $63.50 per share from $57.50, and added it could increase the offer to $65 if it was able to conduct limited due diligence.

"Our board has authorized our meeting with you (Men's Wearhouse) to establish a process that will enable you to advise our board as to the highest price you are prepared to pay in an acquisition of Jos. A. Bank," the company said on Thursday.

Jos. A. Bank, which itself has offered to buy outdoor apparel retailer Eddie Bauer, said it was prepared to provide Men's Wearhouse with a limited amount of due diligence information, under certain conditions.

Jos. A. Bank also said it would like to discuss the deal structure and the proposed stock component to its shareholders.

The company's move is the latest in a saga that has played out since last October, when Jos. A Bank made an offer to buy out its larger rival. Men's Wearhouse turned the tables with its own offer and then, in January, went hostile by taking its offer to its smaller rival's shareholders.

Around that time, the merger efforts attracted the attention of the Federal Trade Commission who posed extra questions under a so-called "second request."

Jos. A. Bank said on Thursday it would require certainty of closing a deal in light of the FTC's pending second request.

In an effort to remain independent, Jos. A. Bank earlier this month offered to buy Eddie Bauer.

The tuxedo retailer said it believes the Eddie Bauer deal had "significant value," and that the FTC has granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.

Jos. A. Bank shares were up 3.8 percent at $62.60 in trading after the bell after closing at $60.30 on Thursday on the Nasdaq.

Men's Wearhouse shares were up 2.2 percent at $51.51 after closing at $50.42 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Devika Krishna Kumar in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza and Lisa Shumaker)

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