UPDATE: Genesco buy to save Finish Line $15M-20M

June 18, 2007
Finish Line Inc.'s $1.5 billion acquisition of Hat World parent Genesco Inc. should result in annual savings of $15 million to $20 million for the combined company, executives said in a conference call today.

Alan Cohen, CEO of Indianapolis-based Finish Line, said the company has had its eyes on Nashville, Tenn.-based Genesco for a long time.

"It's a great fit," Cohen said. "I think both companies are going to benefit."

Savings from the deal, which was announced this morning, will be realized in part by combining back-office functions and purchasing on a larger scale, he said, adding that it's too early to tell whether certain concepts could be merged.

Cohen said Finish Line feels comfortable with its debt load, and suggested that selling off certain assets is unlikely.

Finish Line owns Man Alive and Paiva stores, and now will add to its stable Journeys, Underground Station, Jarman, Hat World and Lids.

Hat World was founded in 1995 in Lafayette by former Foot Locker managers, then moved to Indianapolis before Genesco bought the company in 2004 for $165 million.

New York-based Foot Locker Inc. also sought to buy Genesco, but its efforts were rebuffed.

Cohen said the merger will allow its Finish Line stores to focus "more sharply" on performance athletic wear.
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