February 14, 2014, 11:57 AM

Jos. A. Bank agrees to buy Eddie Bauer

The two apparel retailers sold nearly $368 million online in 2012, according to Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com. The acquisition would enable Jos. A. Bank to expand into new categories such as women’s apparel and footwear.

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Multichannel menswear retailer Jos. A Bank Clothiers Inc. has agreed to buy Everest Holdings LLC, parent company of the Eddie Bauer brand, for $825 million—$564 million in cash and 4.7 million shares of Jos. A. Bank stock.

Acquiring Eddie Bauer LLC would enable Jos. A. Bank to expand into new categories such as women’s apparel and footwear, as well as broaden its reach within menswear. While Jos. A. Bank says it would operate the brands independently, the deal would benefit both significantly.  

For one thing, it will make the combined company a major online retailer; together, both retailers’ 2012 online sales were nearly $368 million, according to data on Internet Retailer’s Top500Guide.com. That would rank the company No. 81 in the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide. Currently, Jos. A. Bank is No. 191, with $109 million in 2012 online sales, and Eddie Bauer is No. 101, with $258.7 million in 2012 online sales.

“With this transaction, two historic 20th century American apparel brands dedicated to quality, which have been serving different lifestyle aspects of a demographically similar family of customers, now combine to leverage their legacies and their strengths,” says Neal Black, Jos. A. Bank CEO. “I am very excited to see this vision come alive and to work with [Eddie Bauer CEO] Mike Egeck and his team. The addition of Eddie Bauer provides us with clear avenues for strong growth and expansion for both of our businesses, now and in the years ahead, in terms of product offering, store count, global distribution and direct sales.”

Jos. A. Bank says it has considered acquiring Eddie Bauer for two years. It first approached the retailer’s parent company about such a move in early 2012. However, it  then shifted gears and made an offer last fall to acquire The Men’s Wearhouse, No. 294 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide.

That initial offer, sparked a series of back-and-forth negotiations between the two retailers, during which each attempted to acquire the other at various points,. The latest turn in those negotiations had Men’s Wearhouse earlier this month offering $57.50 a share in a hostile bid for Jos. A. Bank, which translates to a $1.6 billion offer. Jos. A. Bank rejected the offer. 

But, if Jos. A. Bank’s board changes its stance and decides to accept the Men’s Wearhouse offer, the retailer can cancel its acquisition of Eddie Bauer.

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