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Jos. A. Bank starts buyback of up to $300 million shares at $65 each

Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. said Wednesday it has started buying back up to $300 million worth of its shares at $65 each, a step toward its planned acquisition of retail chain Eddie Bauer.

The Hampstead-based men's apparel retailer said the offer will expire at midnight March 18, unless the company extends the deadline. The stock buyback is subject to closing the Bauer acquisition and designed to mollify shareholders pushing for a $1.6 billion hostile bid for Bank by rival chain Men's Wearhouse.

Shares of Bank closed at $54.20 per share on Tuesday and had fallen to $53.56 in morning trading Wednesday.

Bank first announced the tender offer Friday along with an $825 million deal to buy Eddie Bauer from owner Golden Gate Capital for $564 million in cash and about 4.7 million shares of new Bank stock at $56 a share.

The company is distributing its buyback offer to stockholders and expects to fund it with cash on hand. Bank said none of its directors or executive officers or Everest Topco LLC, the owner of Bauer parent Everest Holdings LLC, will participate in the offer.

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