Jos. A. Bank to Men's Wearhouse: Won't bid against self
An attractive proposal was made. A public rejection shortly followed. But the pursuit continues.
It sounds like the beginning to a romantic comedy, but this story isn't fiction. It's the true story of the courtship of a menswear retailer.
On Wednesday, Jos. A. Bank publicly confirmed it had made an offer on Sept. 17 to acquire rival Men's Wearhouse for $48 per share, which represented a 42 percent premium to the stock price on the date the offer was made. Shares of Men's Wearhouse spiked to an intraday high of $45.56 on the news, but Men's Wearhouse publicly rejected the proposal.
But Jos. A. Bank isn't backing down. A banker representing the company is urging shareholders to pressure Men's Wearhouse to do a deal.
"We're very disappointed with Men's Wearhouse response," Financo founder and Chairman Gilbert Harrison told CNBC in an interview Thursday. "I did not understand the letter that [Men's Wearhouse] put out and all of the things they are doing to reinvent the company. I mean, they could have been doing this for the last six years and they haven't, so now why all of a sudden are we hearing these things that they are going to do?"
Financo is working with Goldman Sachs to complete the deal.
Harrison said he is encouraging shareholders from both companies to ask Men's Wearhouse to sit down with Jos. A. Bank and the bankers to further evaluate the deal. "We've gotten overwhelming calls from shareholders of both companies totally supportive of this transaction," he said.
According to Harrison, the $2.3 billion deal will add immediately to earnings of both companies.
"It's a win-win for shareholders on both sides with over 40 percent of both companies' shareholders overlapping," he said.
But there is one shareholder Financo hasn't talked to yet, Men's Wearhouse's largest individual shareholder, ousted executive chairman and founder George Zimmer.
In a Sept. 24 interview with CNBC, Men's Wearhouse CEO Doug Ewert acknowledged he hasn't spoken to Zimmer since the termination earlier in the summer either.
(Read more: Unlucky 13? One of Men's Wearhouse's challenges)
Financo said it wants a friendly transaction. Meanwhile, Men's Wearhouse is making sure no one can make a hostile takeover bid, and instituted a poison pill on the heels of the bid.
But don't expect Jos. A Bank to keep standing at the altar. Harrison said Financo has been working with Jos. A. Bank's management and board for about a year with the objective of building up a cash reserve to buy another company that would be a good strategic fit, and have looked at a number of different transactions.
So while Men's Wearhouse is apparently the first acquisition choice, if a deal can't be made, there is available cash to go shopping for another suitor.
Harrison also said Jos. A. Bank doesn't plan on sweetening the deal. "We aren't going to negotiate against ourselves."
—By CNBC's Courtney Reagan. Follow her on Twitter @CourtReagan.