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BRIEFLY

2ND TRIAL FOR QUATTRONE: Federal prosecutors said Tuesday they will retry Frank Quattrone, the former star investment banker whose first trial on obstruction of justice charges ended in a hung jury. The disclosure came in a letter from U.S. Attorney James Comey to Richard Owen, the federal judge who oversaw the first trial. Quattrone's lawyer, John W. Keker, said he was disappointed in the government decision because his client is an innocent man who "plays by the rules." Quattrone's first trial ended Oct. 24 with jurors unable to reach a verdict on any of the three counts against him _ two counts of obstruction of justice and a count of witness tampering.

GARCIA MEDIA MOVES: Garcia Media, a Tampa publication design firm whose client roster includes the Wall Street Journal, is moving its offices to downtown Tampa from the Westshore district. President Mario Garcia Jr. said the firm paid an undisclosed amount for a two-story, 3,300-square-foot structure at 1209 N Tampa St. that was built in 1951 and is "very Art Deco." "There's a lot of character in downtown, and we like the idea that the mayor has big plans," Garcia said. Refurbishing work will begin in January, and Garcia Media and its 11 Tampa staff will move in next spring.

JUDGES PICK AT MICROSOFT: A federal appeals court pointedly questioned Tuesday whether the Bush administration's antitrust settlement with Microsoft Corp. adequately protects consumers and competitors from monopolistic abuses. Legal experts said it was unlikely the six-judge panel from the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia would accept as adequate only the sanctions that Microsoft accepted under the settlement, given the serious questions that some of the judges raised during a lively three-hour hearing.

ICAHN BUYS INTO KODAK: Federal regulators have given billionaire financier Carl Icahn a green light to buy a big stake in Eastman Kodak Co., which provoked a possible investor revolt this fall by betting its future on digital photography. The veteran corporate raider got permission from the Federal Trade Commission late last week to buy as much as $500-million of Kodak stock, which would make him the photography company's biggest individual shareholder with a 7.3 percent stake. While Icahn's motivations remain murky, "he is in there to make money, one way or another," said analyst Ulysses Yannas of Buckman Buckman & Reid in New York.

SOUTHWEST SHUTS CALL CENTERS: Southwest Airlines will close three of its nine phone-reservations centers following a decline in call volumes as more customers make travel plans online. The low-cost carrier said it would close call centers in Dallas, Salt Lake City and Little Rock, Ark., at the end of February. Remaining call centers are in Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, Phoenix, Oklahoma City and Albuquerque, N.M. The 1,900 employees affected will be allowed to relocate to one of the remaining call centers. The airline did not say how many people it expects will lose their jobs.

4-WEEK BILLS FALL: The interest rate on the U.S. Treasury's four-week bills fell from a week earlier at the government's auction of the securities. The Treasury sold $17-billion of the bills at a discount rate of 0.935 percent, down from 0.960 percent last week and the lowest since 0.895 percent on Oct. 21.

Earnings

Walter Industries Inc.

Walter's planned sale of its Aimcor subsidiary for $127.7-million will not be as rewarding as first thought. During the quarter ended June 30, Walter took a $1.07-per-share charge on the sale, based on preliminary assumptions about the value of its petroleum-coke distribution unit's assets. But because the assets ended up being worth more than expected, Walter took an additional charge of 31 cents per share on the sale during the quarter ended Sept. 30.

Otherwise, Walter reported a 3 percent decline in revenue from its homebuilding segment, a 1.5 percent reduction in home financing revenues, a 0.7 percent drop in industrial product sales, and an 8.8 percent decline in revenues from its coal and natural gas unit due to "continued adverse geologic conditions." During the quarter, Walter also announced the planned sale of its JW Aluminum subsidiary for $125-million.

3rd Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $401.7-mil $408.8-mil

Net Income -$9.3-mil $21.1-mil

Per Share -22 cents 47 cents

Danka Business Systems

Danka, a British seller and servicer of copy machines with its U.S. headquarters in St. Petersburg, saw its revenues fall 6 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30 versus the same period a year ago. The decline included a 2.4 percent drop in retail equipment sales to $115.2-million, a 10.1 percent drop in retail service fees to $155.3-million, a 12 percent decrease in retail supplies and rentals to $30.3-million, and a 19.4 percent gain in wholesale revenues to $22.1-million.

2nd Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $323-mil $343.8-mil

Net Income -$17.3-mil $1.8-mil

Per Share -35 cents -4 cents

Medical Technology Systems Inc.

The Clearwater manufacturer of automated drug dispensing machines said revenue was up 18 percent for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

3rd Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $8-mil $6.8-mil

Net Income $381,000 $235,000

Per Share 6 cents 4 cents

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