Men’s Wearhouse Inc., which less than two weeks ago let a takeover bid from Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. expire without entering discussions, today offered to buy its smaller rival for about $1.54 billion.

The proposal of $55 a share is 8.7 percent higher than Jos. A. Bank’s closing price yesterday and 32 percent higher than its last price on Oct. 8, the day before it bid for Men’s Wearhouse. The deal would be funded with cash on hand and debt financing, Houston-based Men’s Wearhouse said today in a statement.

Men’s Wearhouse, taking the advice of its largest shareholder, Eminence Capital LLC, is turning the tables on Jos. A. Bank to expand its base of men’s clothing stores. The deal, which would create a company with about 1,700 stores, would add to earnings in the first year after closing, helped by as much as $150 million in annual savings in purchasing, customer service and marketing over three years, Men’s Wearhouse said.

“This still would be a positive for owning Men’s Wearhouse stock,” said Keith Moore, an event-driven strategist at Stamford, Connecticut-based MKM Holdings LLC, said in a phone interview. While there might not be as much upside in Men’s Wearhouse shares than if Jos. A. Bank had been the buyer, one positive for investors is that there will be less leverage in this kind of deal, he said.

Financo LLC Chairman Gilbert Harrison, whose firm is advising Jos. A. Bank, said in a phone interview that the company has received the proposal and “will respond in due course.”

Jos. A. Bank, based in Hampstead, Maryland, surged 11 percent to $56.30 at 8:50 a.m. in New York. Men’s Wearhouse rose 8.6 percent to $51.11.

Bid Rejected

Jos. A. Bank in October offered to buy Men’s Wearhouse for about $2.3 billion. Men’s Wearhouse rejected that bid, saying it was too low and was opportunistic because it came at a moment of upheaval for the company, which in June ousted founder George Zimmer as executive chairman.

Eminence, which owns about 9.8 percent of Men’s Wearhouse’s shares, urged the company to enter discussions aimed at getting a higher offer from Jos. A. Bank. Eminence Chief Executive Officer Ricky Sandler said he also would be “very happy” with Men’s Wearhouse buying the smaller Jos. A. Bank.

Eminence said last week that it owns about 1.4 million shares of Jos. A. Bank as well.

For more on the retail sector, see "Boutique Appeal."

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