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Jos A Bank chairman sees strong investor support for Men's Wearhouse bid

By Olivia Oran

(Reuters) - U.S. apparel retailer Jos A. Bank Clothiers Inc has received support for its $2.3 billion takeover bid for Men's Wearhouse Inc from the majority of the shareholders with big stakes in both companies, Jos A. Bank chairman Robert Wildrick said in an interview on Wednesday.

Several of Jos A. Bank's top four shareholders, including Fidelity, Royce & Associates and Wellington Management, are also top 30 shareholders in Men's Wearhouse, according to Thomson Reuters data as of June 30.

This overlap is crucial as Jos A. Bank tries to build support for its unsolicited offer, which has been rejected by Men's Wearhouse as undervaluing the company.

"We have spoken to a majority of the cross-shareholders, and they are strongly in favor of the proposal," Wildrick said. "In fact, none of the shareholders we have spoken with are opposed to it."

Jos A. Bank last week said it had proposed a $48 per share all-cash offer, a 36 percent premium from one day before the proposal went public, to acquire Men's Wearhouse. This was also a 42 percent premium from one day before Jos A. Bank initially reached out to Men's Wearhouse in September.

Men's Wearhouse then adopted a poison pill, or shareholder rights plan, that would prevent new shareholders from holding a sizable chunk of the company's shares.

Men's Wearhouse last month bought designer brand Joseph Abboud for about $97.5 million. The company said that deal, along with its expansion of full service stores, outlet stores and its share of the formalwear market, would lift its shares more than an acquisition by Jos A. Bank would.

Jos. A. Bank is a 100-year-old seller of men's tailored and casual clothing at over 600 stores, according to its website. Men's Wearhouse was founded in 1973 and sells discount suits at its 1,137 stores, according to its website.

(Reporting by Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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