The Men's Wearhouse will buy Jos. A. Bank Clothiers for $1.8 billion, or $65 a share, the companies said in a news release Tuesday.

Boards of directors of the companies have unanimously approved the transaction.

The retailers combined will have more than 1,700 stores in the U.S., with about 23,000 employees.

We are excited by the opportunities this transaction presents, said Men's Wearhouse CEO Doug Ewert, and are confident that our combined best-in-class offerings for our valued customers will drive significant shareholder value.

Combining the companies will allow both to maximize merchandise offerings and store locations, the release said. Jos. A. Bank will retain its name. The acquisition makes the companies together the fourth-largest men's apparel retailer.

The companies have been volleying competing offers for each other since the fall, when Jos. A. Bank made an unsolicited offer to buy Men's Wearhouse for $48 a share. Men's Wearhouse rejected the bid and countered with its own to buy Jos. A. Bank for $55 a share. Most recently, Men's Wearhouse raised its bid to $63.50 a share two weeks ago.

Men's Wearhouse stock is up about 6.2% in early afternoon trading to $57.95. Jos. A. Bank shares are up 3.9% to $64.23 a share.

Contributing: Gary Strauss

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