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How Jos. A. Bank flew under the radar
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How Jos. A. Bank flew under the radar

Mergers can make for great stories, especially that of Jos. A. Bank and Men’s Wearhouse. The two companies played hard-to-get for months in a very public way, and Bank drove its share price way up, eventually landing a quite-comfortable $65 per share deal.

What else is quite comfortable, and makes for a good story arising out of the menswear merger?

Jos. A. Bank’s corporate jet.

Full disclosure — I have never ridden in said aircraft, but I would imagine the Dassault Falcon 2000EX is quite comfortable, as the $24 million plane is marketed as a high-end business jet.

Jos. A. Bank’s business has been examined more carefully recently because of Men’s Wearhouse’s proposed acquisition, bringing more attention to finer details of the company’s operations, like the jet.

Reuters reported last month that the company hadn’t been reporting its lease of the aircraft conspicuously on its financial reports filed with the SEC. That’s because it didn’t have to.

The plane is used for business— technically. It is kept in a hangar in West Palm Beach, Florida, where chairman and former CEO Richard Wildrick lives. If he were using the airplane to travel from his Florida home to the Maryland headquarters of Jos. A. Bank, that home-to-office travel would constitute personal use. But Bank happened to set up an office, quite conveniently, in West Palm Beach, making Wildrick’s flights office-to-office travel, therefore a business expense.

Bethany McLean, a contributing editor for Vanity Fair who wrote the piece for Reuters, spoke about the revelation earlier this month on Marketplace.

“I was stunned when I talked to compensation experts in this area who said ‘oh this is quite common,’” said McLean to Kai Ryssdal.

Corporate governance experts, she added, were a bit more skeptical. They said filing practices like Bank’s may be legal, but they would rather know about it.

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