In the latest development in a men’s clothing takeover tangle that’s become the fodder for jokes by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, a Delaware Chancery Court judge ruled Tuesday that The Men’s Wearhouse could speed up the case it’s bringing to keep its takeover target Jos. A. Bank Clothiers from buying private-equity owned retailer Eddie Bauer, according to press reports.
The gist of Jerry’s joke? No one wants to buy the products either of them sells, anyway.
Neither Jos. A Bank nor Men’s Wearhouse appear to be in a joking mood, however, Men’s Wearhouse having filed a lawsuit against its target. In his ruling in the case on Tuesday, Chancery Court Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster held that Men’s Wearhouse had provided enough proof that Jos. A Bank’s $825 million purchase of Eddie Bauer could be considered a defensive maneuver against a hostile takeover, according to an account on Law360. The judge said that Men’s Wearhouse made a believable case that it could be harmed if the Eddie Bauer deal were closed.
As a result of the court’s decision, Jos. A Bank has to submit documents to the court about the proposed Eddie Bauer deal. Jos. A. Bank would also have to to give Men’s Wearhouse 10 days notice before closing the Eddie Bauer deal.
Men’s Wearhouse, following a $2.3 billion bid in October by Jos. A Bank to take it over, saw its initial offer to buy Jos. A Bank for more than $1.5 billion rejected. On Monday, the brouhaha intensified when Men’s Wearhouse boosted its bid for Jos. A Bank, from $57.50 per share to $63.50 per share, at the same time it filed the lawsuit. Jos. A Bank shareholders have until March 12 to consider the increased offer.