DRUG MERGER DELAYED: Glaxo Wellcome PLC and SmithKline Beecham PLC said the completion of their merger will be delayed a second time due to close scrutiny by U.S. regulatory authorities. The new company was to have started trading under the name GlaxoSmithKline on Sept. 25 following a hearing at the High Court in London, the last stage in the merger process. No new date was given for the completion, but the U.K. companies say they now expect the deal to be wrapped up by the end of the year. The Federal Trade Commission is concerned that the new group will dominate the market for smoking cessation products.
FTC APPROVES AUTO B2B: Antitrust regulators have approved an Internet purchasing exchange created by General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG. The Federal Trade Commission reviewed the Covisint exchange to make certain it wouldn't permit illegal collusion among the major automakers. The fear was that the major automakers, acting in unison, could pressure their suppliers to unfairly lower prices. GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler announced in February they would build Covisint to increase purchasing leverage and cut their supply costs. Automakers Renault SA, Nissan Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. later said they would join.
CHEVRON, PHILLIPS RISE ON REPORT: Rumors that Chevron, the second-largest U.S. oil company, is courting Phillips Petroleum at a reported price tag of $18.4-billion sent the stocks of both companies higher. Investors bought shares of both companies after Britain's Sunday Times reported that the two companies were nearing an agreement on a merger. Chevron's stock rose $2.63 to close at $89.31, while Phillips Petroleum gained $1.44 to close at $63.38. Neither company would comment.
ORACLE CEO SWAPS SALARY FOR SHARES: Oracle CEO Larry Ellison agreed to forgo his salary and cash bonuses through May 2003 for more stock options in his software company. Ellison, who ranks behind only Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in wealth, will get 20-million stock options during a four-year period in exchange for giving up an average salary and bonus of $2.7-million. Oracle's stock fell $3.13 to close at $83.44. The difference between the exercise price of Ellison's options and the market value of Oracle's stock left Ellison with a paper gain of roughly $1.4-billion.
DIXON HIRES ADVISER: Dixon Ticonderoga Co., which makes writing instruments, said it hired First Union Corp.'s First Union Securities Consumer Products Group as an adviser to help it explore mergers and other options to boost shareholder value. The company, based in Heathrow, said the alternatives under consideration include a capital restructuring, mergers and acquisitions. Shares of Dixon closed at $5, up 88 cents.
TREASURY AUCTION: Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities fell in Monday's auction. The Treasury Department sold $9.5-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 5.945 percent, down from 6.065 percent last week. An additional $8.5-billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 5.955 percent, down from 6.030 percent. The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors: 6.121 percent for three-month bills and 6.226 percent for a six-month bill. In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills fell to 6.20 percent last week from 6.23 percent the previous week.