By and  on March 11, 2014

In the end, Goliath prevailed.

Ending a back-and-forth bidding war that started last fall, The Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. on Tuesday reached an agreement for the larger Men’s Wearhouse to acquire the smaller Jos. A. Bank for $65 a share, or about $1.8 billion.

Together, the two men’s wear giants will have more than 1,700 stores in the U.S. and about 23,000 employees — creating the fourth-largest men’s apparel retailer in the country with combined annual sales of about $3.5 billion. It will lag only Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney in men’s wear volume.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Jos. A. Bank, which we believe will deliver substantial benefits to our respective shareholders, employees and customers,” said Doug Ewert, president and chief executive officer of Men’s Wearhouse. “Together, Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank will have increased scale and breadth, and Jos. A. Bank’s strong brand and complementary business model will broaden our customer reach. We expect the transaction will be accretive to Men’s Wearhouse’s earnings in the first full year.”

Ewert declined further comment.

Robert Wildrick, chairman of Jos. A. Bank, said the deal will generate “tremendous value” for the company’s shareholders and “create a men’s wear powerhouse.”

“We feel very positive that they will continue to grow Jos. A. Bank and keep the top executives — good people are hard to get,” said Wildrick, who added that he does not plan to be part of the combined company, but is hopeful that Neal Black, ceo of Jos. A. Bank, will be retained. “They have not asked me to be involved, and I don’t plan to be,” he said. “But Neal is one of the very best merchants in America.”

Men’s Wearhouse said that management of the merged firms “will consist of the most qualified individuals from both organizations.”

Under the terms of the deal, there will be no re-branding or remodeling required at Jos. A. Bank stores, whose nameplate will remain in place. “Jos. A. Bank has been a pretty successful profit maker,” Wildrick said, pointing to the company’s track record of profitability, strong manufacturing facilities and brand name. “We can bring a lot to the transaction.”

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