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BRIEFLY

BEST BUY PLANS BUYBACK: Best Buy Co. said it will buy back up to $400-million in additional shares. The buyback, which will take place over an unspecified time, represents about 8.4-million shares, or 4.2 percent of Best Buy's approximately 200-million shares outstanding. The company also said it expects to issue $200-million of new shares to Microsoft Corp. within 60 days as part of a strategic alliance between the companies announced last month.

FOOD DISTRIBUTOR DECLARES BANKRUPTCY: AmeriServe Food Distribution Inc., the nation's second-largest food service distributor, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company distributes meat, produce, beverages and other supplies to more than 30 fast-food and casual-dining chains with about 36,000 restaurants, including Burger King, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and T.G.I. Friday's. The company had supplied Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants until the chains switched distributors last month. The company's petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., did not list specific asset and debt figures, but its latest quarterly report in November listed assets of less than $2-billion and liabilities of more than $2-billion.

GLOBAL IMAGING BUYS TWO COMPANIES: Global Imaging Systems Inc. of Tampa, an office-equipment distributor, has bought two Georgia companies to boost its presence in electronic commerce and video-conferencing. Terms were not disclosed for the acquisitions of AV Presentations Inc. of Alpharetta, Ga., and Brinckmann & Associates Inc. of Norcross, Ga. AV Presentations, which does business as AVP Projector Depot, has about $4-million in annual sales as an e-commerce dealer of audio-visual presentation systems. Brinckmann, with about $2-million in annual revenue, sells video teleconferencing equipment and customized interfaces. Both companies will operate as satellites of Southern Business Communications, a Global unit based in Norcross.

FAA BLOCKS AIRLINE FROM EXPANDING FLEET: The Federal Aviation Administration is barring America West Airlines from adding planes on grounds that the carrier doesn't adequately care for the ones it has. America West denied the inadequate maintenance allegation and accused the FAA's Phoenix office of promoting a "contentious environment" between the airline and the agency. America West was fined $5-million in 1998 over maintenance problems, though half of it was forgiven when the FAA said the airline had improved.

KMART TO OFFER SHARES ONLINE: Kmart has partnered with StockPower Inc., an online direct investing company, to offer shares of Kmart Corp. common stock on www.bluelight.com, the retailer's recently launched e-commerce company. "Kmart Stock Direct" will allow investors to make an initial purchase or increase the holding they already have in the company. New investors must make an initial investment of $250 and pay a onetime $5 fee. Investors can purchase up to $100,000 in stock each year. Each purchase will cost $5, or $2 if the purchase is paid by an automatic monthly deduction from a bank account, in addition to the cost of the stock. Each stock sale will cost $10.

CONSUMER WINDOWS TO DEBUT THIS YEAR: The name of Microsoft's new consumer operating system, the successor to Windows 98 due out in the second half of this year, will be called Windows Millennium Edition. The new software, dubbed "Windows Me" by Microsoft insiders, will be the latest version of the operating system that powers the vast majority of personal computers. The company has said that Windows Millennium Edition will include software to view and edit digital video, along with updates to the Internet Explorer Web browser and other, undisclosed features. Microsoft will unveil its new business operating system, Windows 2000, Feb. 17.

Earnings

Trans World Airlines

The St. Louis-based company said it was still recovering from a drop in business travel that occurred last year amid a strike threat by the Machinists union. Excluding extraordinary items, the company lost $105.9-million, or $1.60 per share, for the quarter. The carrier hasn't turned an annual profit since 1988.

4thQtr Year Ago

Revenue $801.7-mil $747-mil

Net Income -$271.9-mil -$79.1-mil

Per Share $3.97 -$1.30

Year Year Ago

Revenue $3.31-bil $3.26-bil

Net Income -$353.4-mil -$120.5-mil

Per Share -$5.58 -$2.35

Franklin Resources Inc.

The parent company of Franklin Templeton Mutual funds said earnings doubled in the fiscal quarter ended Dec. 31, although revenues declined slightly. The year-ago period included a restructuring charge, without which earnings would have been 40 cents a share. The San Mateo, Calif.-based company has its East Coast operations center in St. Petersburg. An improvement in foreign stock markets offset weakness in U.S. bond markets and assets under management rose to $235-billion.

1stQtr Year Ago

Revenue $566-mil $568-mil

Net Income $138-mil $68-mil

Per Share 55 cents 27 cents

Republic Bancshares Inc.

The St. Petersburg bank continued its rebound from a painful restructuring at the end of 1998. A $2.9-million loss from the bank's branch expansion program and $4-million loss from the wind-down of its high-risk mortgage unit in 1999 was partially offset by gains of $2.6-million from the sale of branch deposits, branch properties and portfolio loans. Results are for the quarter and year ended Dec. 31.

4thQtrYear Ago

Net Income $1.79-mil -$21.1-mil

Per Share 16 cents -$2.04

Year Year Ago

Net Income $10.69-mil -12.42-mil

Per Share 95 cents -$1.34

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