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Report: Verizon investigating retail breaches

BY Dan Berthiaume

New York – Verizon is reportedly investigating possible data breaches at two unidentified retailers that use its networking technology. According to the New York Times, law enforcement notified the two retailers of the possible cyber attacks, and they then notified Verizon late in the week of Feb. 17.

A Verizon spokesperson told the New York Times that these attacks have similar earmarks to the recent Target breach and there is probably a link between them and an earlier event. Verizon is reportedly also investigating the Target breach. The U.S. Secret Service and Target declined comment in the article.

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The Home Depot makes changes to executive team

BY CSA STAFF

The Home Depot has promoted Craig Menear to president, U.S. retail. Menear was previously EVP, merchandising, responsible for all merchandising departments and merchandising services and strategy; the company’s supply chain network; global sourcing; vendor management; marketing; and online sales.

In his new role, Menear will add responsibility for all U.S. store operations, with Marvin Ellison, EVP, U.S. stores, reporting to Menear.

The company also announced that Mark Holifield, SVP, supply chain, has been elevated to EVP, supply chain and product development, with responsibility for sourcing and proprietary brands. Holifield will continue reporting to Menear.

"Craig is a world-class retailer and has done a terrific job in recent years leading some of the most important and successful initiatives in our company," said chairman and CEO Frank Blake. "And Mark has successfully led one of the most extensive supply chain transformations in retail history. Both are very deserving of their new leadership roles, and I look forward to their continuing contributions to our business."

Menear, a 34-year retail veteran, joined the Home Depot in 1997 as a merchandising manager in the company’s Southwest Division, and steadily rose through the company’s merchandising ranks to his current position. Prior to joining the company, Menear held various merchandising positions at other retailers including Ikea, Builders Emporium, Grace Home Centers and Montgomery Ward, as well as operating an independent retail business.

Holifield has more than 30 years of experience in supply chain management. He joined the Home Depot in 2006 to design and implement a complete transformation of the company’s supply chain and logistics infrastructure, resulting in steadily improving inventory turns and in-stock levels. Prior to the Home Depot, Holifield spent 12 years at Office Depot in supply chain roles of increasing responsibility, and earlier in his career, held supply chain roles at Frito-Lay and H.E. Butt Grocery.

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FINANCE

Jos. A. Bank, Men’s Wearhouse willing to meet

BY Dan Berthiaume

Hampstead, Md. – Jos. A. Bank Clothiers Inc. has officially rejected Men’s Wearhouse’s latest $1.78 billion buyout offer. But in yet another twist to the long-running saga between the two companies, in open letter to Men’s Wearhouse president and CEO Douglas S. Ewert, Jos. A. Bank said it is willing to meet with its rival.

In the letter, Jos. A. Bank said that although it believes purchasing Eddie Bauer will create real value for shareholders and it is proceeding with the purchase of Eddie Bauer parent company Everest Holdings LLC, because Men’s Wearhouse has said it would consider raising its offer, Jos. A. Bank will meet with the retailer to see what its highest offer is. Jos. A. Bank said it would also discuss issues such as providing limited due diligence and determining structure and certainty of a transaction.

Reports have indicated that Goldman Sachs, sole underwriter of the $400 million bridge loan supporting the Eddie Bauer purchase, has put financing the loan on hold. However, the letter states that Goldman Sachs remains fully committed to providing financing.

In addition, Jos. A. Bank announced that the Federal Trade Commission has granted early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 with respect to the pending transaction between Jos. A. Bank and Golden Gate Capital, under which Jos. A. Bank will acquire Everest Holdings. The Eddie Bauer deal is structured so that Jos. A. Bank can exit the deal if a more favorable transaction becomes available before it is completed.

“Please be advised that, notwithstanding our willingness to provide you with this opportunity to address the foregoing issues, the Jos. A. Bank board has made no determination to sell the company, and no determination that your proposal is a superior proposal, as defined in our membership interest purchase agreement for the Eddie Bauer transaction,” said the letter, signed by Jos. A. Bank chairman Robert N. Wildrick.

In a public response, Men’s Wearhouse said a purchase of Jos. A. Bank has the “strategic logic and the potential to deliver substantial benefits to our respective shareholders, employees and customers.” A letter signed by Ewert said Men’s Wearhouse is willing to discuss due diligence, structure and certainty of the deal, and will have its advisors get in touch with Jos. A. Bank to set up meetings.

“We look forward to working collaboratively with the Jos. A. Bank Board and management to effect this combination which would provide your shareholders with a substantial premium and immediate value,” said the letter.

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