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Jos. A. Banks reportedly in talks to acquire Eddie Bauer chain

Men's clothing retailer Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. is in talks to acquire the Eddie Bauer chain of stores specializing in outerwear and casual attire, the Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Such a deal would disrupt the long saga of dueling takeover bids between Bank and rival discount suit clothier Men's Wearhouse Inc. The Wall Street Journal, in reporting the talks, cited people familiar with the matter.

Thomas Davies, a spokesman for Hampstead-based Bank declined to comment Saturday. A spokesman for Golden Gate Capital, the private equity firm that owns the 370-store Bauer chain, could not be reached immediately for comment.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Bank recently signed nondisclosure agreements related to possible acquisitions of companies other than the Houston-based Men's Wearhouse.

The report comes nearly three weeks after Eminence Capital LLC, a major shareholder in both companies, asked a Delaware court to force Bank to consider the offer from Men's Wearhouse — and to stop Bank from acquiring another retailer. Eminence, which owns 4.9 percent of Bank's common stock and is Men's Wearhouse's largest shareholder, also sent a letter last month to Bank's board urging it to pursue the Houston chain's proposed merger.


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