FINANCE

Finish Line Financier Wants More Information on Genesco

BY CSA STAFF

Nashville, Tenn., Investment bank UBS AG has stopped working on closing documents for The Finish Line Inc.’s buyout of Genesco Inc. because of concerns about Genesco’s financial performance since the deal was announced, according to the Associated Press.

Finish Line said on Wednesday that UBS Loan Finance LLC and UBS Securities LLC have asked for additional information before signing off on the $1.5 billion deal for Genesco.

Genesco’s chairman and CEO Hal N. Pennington responded in a letter released publicly to Finish Line that UBS’ reluctance is unrelated to the financial performance at the Nashville-based retailer.

“They are now looking for a way to back out of their commitment—in our view, not because of Genesco’s results but because the upheaval in the credit markets makes this deal less profitable for them,” Pennington said in the letter. “We are not going to allow the litigation consulting firm they have hired to go on a fishing expedition.”

Genesco’s shareholders approved the buyout on Monday. Finish Line said in a release that it is still working toward the closing, though “it continues to evaluate its options in accordance with the terms of the merger agreement.”

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Borders to launch new Web site, breaks ties with Amazon

BY CSA STAFF

ANN ARBOR, Mich. As a way to separate from its well-known online partner, Borders Group Inc. has announced the launch of its new beta version Web site, the company said Wednesday.

While the site is set to officially launch during the first quarter of fiscal year 2008, it is still in early stages of completion. The Web site is said to include videos, Borders Book Club resources, and sample pages from books.

In addition to a new, independent website, Borders also plans to make changes to its retail stores, adding interactive features via kiosks.

Borders is also employing the services of ChoiceStream to provide revenue-driving product recommendations to Borders shoppers through its in-store computer search stations and its upcoming online store, driving the discovery of new books, music and movies.

Borders and online retailer Amazon have worked alongside each other for more than five years. Amazon has agreements with several other well-known retailers like Babies “R” Us. In May, Borders announced that it hired AT&T subsidiary Sterling Open Management to manage the new site.

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Wal-Mart improves workers’ health benefits

BY CSA STAFF

Bentonville, Arkansas Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will be improving the health benefits packages provided to its full and part-time associates, the company announced today.

As one of the largest retailers in the world, Wal-Mart is providing its employees more options geared toward their personal needs. The 2008 benefits package includes reduced deductibles, pre-deductible health care credits and $4 co-pays for over 2,400 covered generic prescriptions. The generic prescription program, the company believes, will save associates approximately $25 million in 2008. The company’s open enrollment period will start September 22.

“We worked closely with our associates to design an even more affordable health benefits package based on what they told us they wanted and needed,” said Linda Dillman, evp of risk management, benefits and sustainability. “Ninety percent of our associates now have health insurance and we want that number to increase. Our health coverage next year will be even stronger, offer more options and give people more tools to help them save money and live better lives.”

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