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“Someone’s got to blink first”
The acquisition by Men’s Wearhouse of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, whose store at the intersection of Light and Pratt streets in Baltimore is shown here, was one of the big deals in Maryland last quarter. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

“Someone’s got to blink first”

Hindsight is 20-20 right?

Sometimes it’s fun to take a look back at what we were all thinking in the past, and how it compares with the present.

So I went back into my notes, to see what the fashion industry and M&A experts had to say about Jos. A. Bank and Men’s Wearhouse along the way. You might call it a scrapbook of sorts, a trip down memory lane.

Nov. 26 – Men’s Wearhouse offers $55 per share for Jos. A. Bank

Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry analyst for NPD Group:

“If done right, it can create an even more powerful men’s brand to compete… as long as they don’t try to meld it into one entity… Someone’s got to blink first. That’s what this is now coming down to.”

Dec. 23 – Bank turns down the offer

Mark Montagna, analyst for Avondale Partners, covers Jos. A. Bank

“I’d expect a deal will eventually occur. I can’t really predict which side will be the acquired.”

Jan. 6 – Men’s Wearhouse ups the offer to $57.50

Robert Barlett, M&A attorney in the Bethesda office of Offit Kurman:

“There is a desire I think to bring these companies together, but it’s who’s going to be controlling things… If this doesn’t happen because of the financial or ego, or just general self-interest of either board, then it’s the shareholders that will ultimately suffer.”

Jan. 13 – Eminence Capital urges combination

Brian Rafn principal and portfolio manager at Morgan Dempsey, a Bank shareholder

“Getting that younger guy is not worth paying a premium to a business like Men’s Wearhouse, which is a mess.”

Feb. 24 – Men’s Wearhouse increases bid to $63.50

Richard Jaffe, analyst for Stifel Nicolaus, who covers Bank:

“$63.50 in cash, versus the assumption of some debt and the acquisition of an underperforming business — an underperforming asset, the choice to me seems very clear. You have a lot of uncertainty as a Jos. A. Bank shareholder in acquiring Eddie Bauer… It’s better than a 50-50 chance that Bank says (to Men’s Wearhouse) yes, come down, look at the books.”


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