Men’s Wearhouse to buy Joseph Abboud brand

Men’s Wearhouse Inc. has agreed to buy the company that owns the Joseph Abboud clothing brand for $97.5 million.

The sale will reunite designer Joseph Abboud, who joined Men’s Wearhouse as chief creative director seven months ago, with the brand he launched in 1987. Abboud cut ties with the New York company that owned the brand, JA Holding Inc., eight years ago amid disputes with investors and executives.

“Becoming a part of Men’s Wearhouse with its powerful U.S. retail presence and talented management team, I believe the Joseph Abboud brand will not only thrive but will also reach new heights by offering amazing style and quality at an incredible value,” Abboud said in a statement.

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Boston private equity firm J.W. Childs Associates owns a majority of the funds affiliated with the company, which it acquired for $73 million for 2004.

The latest transaction will transfer ownership of th JA Holding factory in New Bedford, which has 450 employees. Men’s Wearhouse said it would retain the factory and its workers.

Adam Suttin, a J.W. Childs partner, said the firm hadn’t been looking to sell the company, but was approached by Men’s Wearhouse and reached what he considered a fair price for the brand.

“We’ve owned the company for a fairly long period of time and it’s been a good investment,” Suttin said. “We had some difficulties in the economic downturn as menswear was hit, as were other categories, and saw some recovery in the last few years.”

The announcement came one month after the Men’s Wearhouse board ousted founder George Zimmer as executive chairman. Zimmer started the company in 1973 and grew it to than 1,100 U.S. stores.