On The Block

Genesco Inc. (NYSE: GCO), a specialty retailer of footwear, headwear and accessories, is wearing a for-sale tag. The Nashville-based company operates more than 2,000 retail locations in the United States and Canada. The move comes shortly after the company turned down a bid from Foot Locker Inc. to acquire all of Genesco’s outstanding common stock for $51 per share. Genesco’s net sales rose 14 percent for fiscal 2007, ended February 3, coming in at $1.46 billion compared to $1.28 billion in 2006. Net earnings rose 8 percent to $67.6 million, up from $62.7 million the year before. Goldman Sachs is financial advisor to Genesco, while Bass, Berry & Sims PLC is legal advisor.

Lehman Brothers has reportedly been hired by Jo-Ann Stores (NYSE: JAS) to explore a sale. Jo-Ann Stores is the largest specialty retailer of fabrics in the nation, operating 801 stores in 47 states as of Feb. 3, 2007. First-round bids for the company are said to be due this month, with a total asking price of just under $1 billion. As of press time, Jo-Ann Stores sported a market capitalization of approximately $775 million. Net sales for the year ended most recent fiscal year totaled $1.85 billion, off 1.7 percent from $1.88 billion the year before.

Alternative energy company Noble Environmental Power is looking for a new owner. The Essex, Conn.-based wind-energy developer was formed in 2004 by JPMorgan Partners, which spun out of investment bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. in 2006 and is now called CCMP Capital. Noble Environmental has retained Goldman Sachs to serve as its financial advisor. In addition to its Connecticut headquarters, the company has offices in the New York cities of Altona, Bliss, Brandon, Churubusco, and Fredonia; as well as in Ubly, Mich. and Lancaster, N.H. Buyout firms that have invested in wind-power companies include Apax Partners, Diamond Castle Holdings and Energy Investors Funds.

Belvedere Winery LP has retained Perella Weinberg Partners to explore a sale of the company and its trademarked name. The Healdsburg, Calif.-based winery was founded in 1982 by investment banker and philanthropist William Hambrecht. Private equity is not a traditional player in the alcoholic beverage market, although deals in the sector are not unheard of. Last year TPG acquired a 90 percent ownership stake in Mey Alcoholic Beverages, a producer of spirits in Turkey.