U.S. Markets open in 9 hrs

Eminence pushes Men's Wearhouse to consider deal

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Men's Wearhouse Inc.'s largest shareholder, Eminence Capital LLC, is urging the retailer to resume talks with Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc.

The hedge fund said Wednesday that it has retained Moelis & Co. as a strategic adviser in its efforts to work with the retailer. It also filed paperwork last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission to potentially call a special meeting of Men's Wearhouse shareholders to vote on some bylaw amendments. If the amendments are approved, it would allow stockholders to remove Men's Wearhouse board members without cause before the next annual shareholders meeting.

Jos. A. Bank made an unsolicited $2.3 billion buyout offer for the retailer in September. Men's Wearhouse rejected the bid the following month, calling it "opportunistic" and "inadequate."

Jos. A. Bank had said it would be open to raising its offer if it were allowed to assess whether a higher price is justified, but Men's Wearhouse would not give the company access to nonpublic information. Last week, Jos. A. Bank withdrew its bid.

The company said that if the board of Men's Wearhouse decides in the future that it wants to discuss a potential acquisition, or if circumstances otherwise change, that it may consider whether a new bid for its rival is warranted.

Eminence, which owns 9.8 percent of Men's Wearhouse stock, argues that a combination with the rival clothier would create value and increase the company's growth potential, and argued the board should explore the possibilities.

Jos. A. Bank declined to comment. A representative for Men's Wearhouse did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

Shares of the company slipped a penny to $46.70in midday trading. Jos. A. Bank shares added 72 cents to $50.36.