AMERISOURCE TO BUY BERGEN BRUNSWIG: AmeriSource Health Corp. is acquiring Bergen Brunswig Corp. in a $2.4-billion deal that will combine two of the nation's largest drug distributors. The agreement will create a drug-distribution giant with almost $35-billion in annual revenue, selling pharmaceuticals to drug stores, hospitals and health maintenance organizations. AmeriSource will own about 51 percent of the combined entity, to be named AmeriSource-Bergen. It also will assume $1.3-billion in debt.
NEW NAME FOR MUSIC, VIDEO STORES: About 730 mall record and video stores including all four Camelot Music stores in Tampa Bay area malls will be remodeled and renamed fye (for your entertainment) this spring. Albany, N.Y.-based Trans World Entertainment Corp., which owns more than 1,000 music and video stores including Spec's Music in Florida, said it will spend $40-million on the conversion. The new brand name also will be used on the company's online retail sites that become fye.com in August. The mall stores will be equipped with sampling stations to hear or view more than 200,000 video or music titles. Spec's stores will not be affected.
AD MERGER: Interpublic Group of Cos. is buying True North Communications Inc. for about $2-billion in stock, a deal that would create the world's largest advertising company. Interpublic gets to add the global agency network FCB Worldwide, one of the world's oldest advertising concerns, to its two existing global networks, McCann-Erickson WorldGroup and the Lowe Group.
PIZZA HUT LOSES APPEAL: The Supreme Court declined to hear Pizza Hut's argument that Papa John's claim to producing a superior pizza should be considered false advertising. The court, without comment, turned down an appeal by Pizza Hut, which won _ and then lost _ a false-advertising lawsuit against Papa John's. Papa John's says its pizza is better than Pizza Hut's because it uses superior ingredients. Pizza Hut is the nation's largest pizza chain, and Papa John's is the third-largest.
NEWSPAPER PUBLISHER RESIGNS: Jay Harris, chairman and publisher of the San Jose Mercury News, resigned, saying he hoped his action would prompt the newspaper's parent company, Knight Ridder, to "closely examine the wisdom" of the paper's profit targets. Harris, 52, was publisher for seven years. This month, Harris announced plans to lay off an unspecified number of employees, blaming Silicon Valley's economic slowdown. Separately, Knight Ridder lowered its expectations for first-quarter earnings for the second time. The company now expects first-quarter earnings to fall 15 cents to 20 cents. Analysts had expected earnings of 71 cents a share.
TREASURY AUCTION; Interest rates on short-term Treasury securities fell in Monday's auction. The Treasury Department sold $10-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 4.370 percent, down from 4.520 percent last week. An additional $8-billion was sold in six-month bills at a rate of 4.220 percent, down from 4.420 percent. The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors: 4.482 percent for three-month bills and 4.371 percent for a six-month bill. In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year constant maturity Treasury bills fell to 4.31 percent last week from 4.47 percent the previous week.