FINANCE

Men’s Wearhouse urges Jos. A. Bank to consider buyout, may raise offer

BY Dan Berthiaume

Fremont, Calif. — The Men’s Wearhouse has sent a letter to the independent directors of Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Inc. urging them to consider Men’s Wearhouse’s recent all-cash offer to acquire Jos. A. Bank for $57.50 per share, or about $1.6 billion. Jos. A. Bank initially rejected the offer, which expires March 28, 2014, on Jan. 20.

“As we have made clear, our strong preference is to work collaboratively with the JOSB board and management to realize the benefits of this combination,” says the letter, signed by five Men’s Wearhouse board members. “Our offer would provide your shareholders with a substantial premium and immediate and certain value.”

Men’s Wearhouse also states in the letter that it is prepared to increase its offer price if Jos. A. Bank can demonstrate or Men’s Wearhouse can discover additional value through discussions or limited due diligence.

The letter also urges Jos. A. Bank to form an independent committee of directors to consider the proposal. It cites a potential conflict of interest on behalf of Jos. A. Bank CEO Robert N. Wildrick, who would not remain CEO if a purchase took place. Wildrick was quoted in the official Jos. A. Bank statement rejecting the Men’s Wearhouse offer as calling it “inadequate.”

Also as previously announced, Men’s Wearhouse has formally submitted its notice to nominate two independent director candidates, John D. Bowlin and Arthur E. Reiner, for election to the Jos. A. Bank board of directors at its 2014 annual meeting.

BofA Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan Securities LLC are serving as financial advisors to Men’s Wearhouse, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is serving as legal advisor and MacKenzie Partners, Inc., is serving as information agent.

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OPERATIONS

Starbucks shakes up executive roles

BY Dan Berthiaume

Seattle — Starbucks Coffee Company has announced a new leadership structure that it says positions the company to leverage its assets and operations, and gain maximum benefit from the retail, consumer, mobile and digital shifts currently underway in the global marketplace. Most significantly, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz will expand his focus on innovation in coffee, tea and the Starbucks Experience, as well as next generation retailing and payments initiatives in the areas of digital, mobile, card, loyalty and e-commerce to position Starbucks for its next wave of global growth.

Schultz will work in partnership with the Starbucks senior leadership team, including chief digital officer Adam Brotman and chief strategy officer Matt Ryan.

In addition, building on his 22 years of experience at Starbucks, former CFO and group president of global business services Troy Alstead will be promoted to the newly created position of COO, responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the enterprise. Starbucks senior VP of corporate finance, Scott Maw, will be promoted to executive VP and CFO. Craig Russell, Starbucks voice and advocate for coffee, will be promoted to executive VP, Global Coffee.

“These organizational moves map our internal talent to the rapidly evolving retail environment and significant strategic and market opportunities ahead of us,” said Schultz. “Each of these experienced Starbucks leaders will be working closely with the entire senior leadership team, and me, to bring even greater financial and operational discipline to our business around the world. They will partner with me as I focus on Starbucks mission, growth initiatives and the convergence and integration of our retail and e-commerce, digital, card and mobile assets around the world. There has never been a more exciting time to be a Starbucks partner.”

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OPERATIONS

Sears Canada to cut 600 more jobs

BY Dan Berthiaume

Toronto – Sears Canada, which laid off more than 1,300 employees on Jan. 15, is cutting an additional 624 jobs. In a press release, the retailer said it is modifying its store structure to improve efficiency and increase the effectiveness of the chain of communication between management and the store associate teams within the stores.

Sears Canada will eliminate primarily a mid-tier level of leads within its full-line stores, resulting in an average reduction of five associates per store. There will also be an alignment of the regional and head office structures to reflect the new store model, and also to improve efficiency in Sears other formats and to align with the size of the business. This will result in a staff reduction of 624 associates.

“The changes we are making in stores will not affect the number of front-line associates, and service to our customers will not be impacted,” said Doug Campbell, president and CEO, Sears Canada Inc. “Our current structure results in inefficiencies and barriers to effective communication among store associates and the changes we are making are designed to result in better store execution and consistency of presentation and standards. We continue to plan for the future of Sears Canada and are taking steps today that will allow us to continue serving customers as a viable national retailer coast to coast in stores and through our direct channel now and in the future.”

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