Men's Wearhouse (NYSE: MW) on Tuesday earned approval in a Delaware court to expedite its request for a hearing on whether it can circumvent the planned acquisition of Eddie Bauer by Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. (NASDAQ: JOSB). Men's Wearhouse maintains that the Eddie Bauer acquisition was a defensive measure by Jos. A. Bank to thwart its own takeover negotiations.
The hearing to fast track the process was conducted via an hour-long telephone conference Tuesday, just one day after Men's Wearhouse filed the lawsuit. Delaware Chancery Court Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster made the ruling. Laster determined that Men's Wearhouse made a "credible basis for believing that the Eddie Bauer transaction is defensive" and that it was in response to a "hostile bid" according to a court transcript.
Laster didn't block the Eddie Bauer deal, as Men's Wearhouse requested, but he did order Jos. A. Bank to give Men's Wearhouse 10 days' notice before closing a deal with Eddie Bauer. Jos. A. Bank also must rapidly produce documents related to the acquisition, a request which Jos. A. Bank had fought.
The ruling gives Men's Wearhouse hope that a deal to acquire Jos. A. Bank is still an option for the men's suit retailer that has been engaged in a months-long back-and-forth with its smaller rival. Earlier this week, Men's Wearhouse raised its offer for Jos. A. Bank by 10 percent to about $1.78 billion.
-See this New York Times article
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