FORMER TAMPA BROKER DISCIPLINED: The National Association of Securities Dealers fined former Tampa broker Richard Ralph Avis $10,000 and suspended him from the securities industry for six months for selling pay phone investments in 1999 without the knowledge of his then-employer, New England Securities. Avis, who is now retired, said he sold the pay phone deal to two family friends and invested in it himself. The pay phone company later stopped making payments to investors and has been fighting fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Avis said he decided not to fight the association's action against him since he is retired.
JABIL COMPLETES PART OF PHILIPS CONTRACT: Jabil Circuit Inc. said it completed portions of its contract to build printed circuit boards for Royal Philips Electronics and to buy from the Amsterdam company the unit that makes 70 percent of its printed circuit-board assemblies for products such as televisions and DVD players. The purchase includes six manufacturing plants. Jabil also said it expects fiscal first-quarter profit to meet its forecast of 14 to 16 cents a share. Shares of the St. Petersburg electronic products manufacturer fell 27 cents to close at $16.74.
WORLDCOM INVESTOR FAVORS GIULIANI: A leading investor of WorldCom Inc. wants former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to be named the company's chairman, the Wall Street Journal reported. David Matlin, who heads a bond-investor group backed by Credit Suisse First Boston, has started a fund with Giuliani to accumulate at least one-third of WorldCom's bonds. Matlin's group of investors could retain the right to appoint board members if it owns more than a third of the company's bonds.
COMCAST COMPLETES ACQUISITION OF AT&T CABLE: Comcast Corp. completed the acquisition of AT&T's cable division for $29.2-billion in stock to become the nation's largest cable operator. Comcast had been the country's third-largest cable company, with 8.5-million customers. Acquiring AT&T Broadband, the largest cable operator, created a new Comcast Corp. with 27-million subscribers, nearly twice as many as AOL Time Warner Inc. Comcast, which also assumed more than $20-billion in AT&T debt as part of the transaction, has systems in 17 of the nation's 20 largest cities, controlling 29 percent of the market.
BURGER KING SALE HITS SNAG: Diageo PLC said the $2.26-billion sale of its Burger King restaurant chain to buyout firms led by Texas Pacific Group won't proceed according to the terms agreed in July. Texas Pacific has said it wanted to change the acquisition terms as stagnating Burger King sales hampered the buyers' plans to borrow $1.5-million to fund the purchase. Diageo will continue talks with the firms and consider "other options."
COMPUTER ASSOCIATES CHAIRMAN WANG RETIRES: Computer Associates founder Charles Wang has retired and was succeeded as chairman by chief executive Sanjay Kumar. The 58-year-old helped start the Islandia, N.Y., company in 1976 and then built it into one of the world's largest software companies through dozens of acquisitions, including several multibillion-dollar deals. Wang's tenure was filled with mishaps and controversies, including the 1998 stock grant of 20-million shares worth more than $1-billion to himself, Kumar and co-founder Russell Artzt.
DELTA CHANGING RETIREMENT PLAN: Delta Air Lines will change its retirement plan for employees except pilots to a cash-balance plan from a traditional benefit plan to lower costs. The new structure, starting June 30, is expected to reduce expenses "significantly" in 2003 and by about $500-million in the next five years, Delta said. The airline is targeting $2.5-billion in cost cuts annually from 2003 through 2005. The company has lowered costs by $1-billion this year. Delta said current employees will shift to the new plan over a seven-year period ending June 30, 2010. Those hired after June 30, 2003, will be eligible only for the cash-balance benefit.
KMART MAY CLOSE MORE STORES: Kmart Corp. may have to close more stores as part of its restructuring under bankruptcy protection but the number will be nowhere near the 500-plus stores that were rumored to be on the block, Kmart's chief executive. Chairman and CEO James B. Adamson said a decision on store closings was expected in early January, and that individual store performance in November and December will factor into the decision. Kmart closed 283 stores this year.
PUSH ON TO BRING OFFSHORE COMPANIES HOME: The investment committee of the huge California Public Employees' Retirement System voted to support shareholder resolutions asking three major offshore companies to return to the United States. CalPERS, the nation's largest public pension fund, agreed to co-sponsor resolutions with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to change the formal addresses of Tyco International, Ingersoll-Rand and McDermott International. CalPERS owns 1.2-million shares of Tyco, 299,000 shares of McDermott International and 218,000 shares of Ingersoll-Rand. AFSCME is leading the effort to recruit public pension funds around the country to force the issue. About 20 public companies are incorporated offshore in large part to avoid paying U.S. income taxes and because shareholders in other countries have more limited rights.
AGE BIAS AWARD AGAINST DILLARDS UPHELD: A federal appeals court upheld a $550,000 judgment against Dillards Inc., agreeing with a lower court finding that the department store chain discriminated against a 64-year-old manager. Dorman Hartley, who had managed Dillards' store in North Little Rock, Ark., said he was fired and replaced by a man half his age after failing to meet annual sales and profit goals from 1997-1999. Hartley argued that malls were losing market shares to discount stores over the same period. A jury agreed in September 2001.
TREASURY AUCTION: Interest rates on short-term Treasury bills rose in Monday's auction to the highest level in two weeks. The Treasury Department auctioned $15-billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 1.205 percent. Another $15-billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 1.245 percent. The new discount rates understate the actual return to investors _ 1.227 percent for three-month bills and 1.269 percent for six-month bills. In a separate report, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills was unchanged last week at 1.46 percent, the same level as the previous week.
Toys "R" Us Inc.
Helped by stronger sales and lower overhead costs, the toy retailer saw its losses narrow in the quarter ended Nov. 2, beating Wall Street projections.
3rdQtr Year Ago
Revenue $2.27-bil $2.18-bil
Net Income $28-mil $44-mil
Per Share 13 cents 22 cents
The nation's second-largest home improvement retailer reported a 35 percent increase in earnings for the quarter ended Nov. 1, beating Wall Street expectations.
3rdQtr Year Ago
Revenue $6.41-bil $5.45-bil
Net Income $339.2-mil $250.4-mil
Per Share 43 cents 32 cents