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WWD report says Zimmer eyeing Men's Wearhouse

The Associated Press

The Men's Wearhouse Inc.'s shares rose Thursday on a report that its founder and former chairman George Zimmer is considering a takeover of the retailer.

Women's Wear Daily, a fashion industry publication, said that Zimmer has been reaching out to private equity firms to help him buy the company. The report was posted online Thursday and cited "financial and market sources" that it did not identify.

The board of Men's Wearhouse has said that it is not interested in selling the company, so any attempt is likely to be in the form of a hostile bid.

Zimmer, through a representative, declined to comment. A representative for Men's Wearhouse did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The company fired Zimmer as executive chairman in June. Zimmer is well-known for his guarantee in commercials that "You're going to like the way you look" in Men's Wearhouse fashions. He owns 3.6 percent of the company's stock.

The clothier said its board cut ties with Zimmer because he had difficulty "accepting the fact that Men's Wearhouse is a public company with an independent board of directors and that he has not been the chief executive officer for two years."

Another issue, the company had said, was that Zimmer had been arguing for a sale of the business to an investment group. The rest of the board did not want to take the company private in a deal that would load it down with debt.

Men's Wearhouse stock added 76 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $38.94, outpacing broader market gains for the day.