Finish Line to buy Genesco in $1.5B footwear retail deal

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Not even a month after announcing it would begin investigating strategic alternatives, footwear retailer Genesco Inc. reported yesterday that it will be acquired by The Finish Line for approximately $1.5 billion.

The Finish Line, Indianapolis, will acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Genesco for $54.50 per share in cash. This represents a premium of 37.7 percent over Genesco's three-month average stock price ended March 9.

The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the definitive merger agreement, which is expected to be completed in the fall.

Genesco, a Nashville-based specialty retailer, sells footwear, headwear and accessories in more than 2,000 retail stores in the United States and Canada. Its brands include Journeys, Journeys Kidz, Johnston & Murphy, Lids and Hat World. It also operates several e-commerce Web sites and mails catalogs for its Journeys and Journeys Kidz brands.

The deal will enhance The Finish Line's strength in athletic footwear and apparel and brings several growing retail concepts, such as Journeys, which offers trendy footwear and accessories for young adults; Hat World, the leading mall-based retailer of team and fashion headwear; and Johnston & Murphy, a lifestyle brand for men.

Last year, The Finish Line launched the multichannel brand Paiva for women, which offers fitness and fashion apparel, footwear and accessories via stores, an e-commerce Web site and catalogs.

On May 31, Genesco said that it had rejected the latest unsolicited buyout offer from Foot Locker Inc. to acquire all of the company's outstanding stock for $51 per share in cash. At the same time, it announced plans to explore strategic alternatives.

Foot Locker's first bid in April was for $46 per share. Genesco rejected both of the company's bids on the basis that they did not reflect the long-term value of the company.

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