Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank Merger Wins FTC Approval

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Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank Merger Wins FTC Approval

Men’s Wearhouse can go ahead and merge with Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc, US antitrust officials said on Friday, citing fair rivalry in the market for men’s clothing.

The Federal Trade Commission told the firms on Friday that a probe into the proposed merger had been terminated. FTC officials posted in a blog that the merger posed no harm to potential buyers.

FTC’s officials Deborah Feinstein, Alexis Gilman, and Melissa Davenport said their determination “rested primarily on the competitive environment among brick-and-mortar stores, not competition from online sales.” They added that, “Buying a suit online does not seem obvious to most people, and online suit vendors generally cannot offer tailoring services,” Reuters reported.

Men’s Wearhouse announced in March that it would buy its competitor for roughly $1.8 billion, ending five-month drama that kicked off when Jos. A. Bank proposed to buy its larger rival.

The businesses, which run in mature markets, have attempted to take over each other since October when Jos. A. Bank said it wanted to buy Men’s Wearhouse for around $2.3 billion.

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The officials from FTC said the two companies targeted different customer segments, with Men’s Wearhouse focusing on younger and fashion-sensitive customers and Jos. A. Banks contenting with the older and more conservative buyers.

The FTC had been carrying out a detailed probe on the proposed merger and sent letters to lawyers of the two companies, telling them it was terminating its review without taking action against the deal.

While the suits market is highly competitive, the proposal by Men’s Wearhouse to acquire Jos. A. Bank triggered antitrust concerns, partly because of unusual positions taken by both companies before an agreement was reached, the Wall Street Journal reported. Both sellers of menswear pointed out antitrust concerns during heated negotiation processes, with each firm pouring cold water on the other’s takeover attempts.

To contact the reporter of the story: Yashu Gola at yashu@forexminute.com

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