Archive for Saturday, February 10, 2001

Business Briefs

February 10, 2001


HIT Entertainment to buy Barney's owner, Lyrick Corp.

HIT Entertainment PLC, the British licensing and merchandising company behind Bob the Builder, said Friday that it had agreed to buy Lyrick Corp., the U.S. company that owns the children's character Barney, for $275 million.

HIT said it would offer $165 million in new shares and $110 million in cash for a deal that has been defined as a reverse takeover by British listing authorities.

"While HIT will be greatly assisted in extending our existing brands into the U.S., we will also be able to firmly position Barney as a global brand," said Peter Orton, HIT's chief executive.

Bob the Builder is pictured above left with his electronic Talking Scoop, center, and Muck the talking mischief-making digger/dumper.

SEC investigating Lucent

Shares of Lucent Technologies Inc. fell more than 10 percent Friday after The Wall Street Journal reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission had launched a formal investigation into Lucent's accounting practices.

An SEC official confirmed that the agency was conducting an investigation.

The Journal, citing unidentified people familiar with the probe, said that the SEC's enforcement division was examining whether the telecommunications equipment maker improperly booked $679 million in revenue during its 2000 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30.

Lucent shares fell $1.53 to $15.36, a 9 percent drop.

Downtown Lawrence
Flower stand owner to open indoor shop

Fresh flowers are no match for chilling winds, freezing rain and blowing snow. So Cherie Yvette's taking her inventory inside.

Yvette, who operates a downtown flower stand during the spring, summer and fall, will open a permanent shop Tuesday at 7 E. Seventh St.

Her shop, called Cherie Yvette Fresh Cut Flowers for Everyday, will be open Tuesday through Saturday. She's already ordered $1,500 in fresh flowers, including roses from Ecuador, anthuriums from Hawaii and ranunculus from Holland.

Opening a new shop doesn't mean Yvette will be abandoning her flower stand, which she started in April 2000 and operates in warm weather at the corner of Eighth and Massachusetts streets.

The flower stand will be open Wednesday for Valentine's Day, she said, "weather permitting."

Dell cutting costs

As rumors of layoffs intensify, executives at Dell Computer Corp. spent Friday trying to quash reports of impending job cuts at the nation's leading seller of personal computers.

The company has acknowledged it is cutting costs as computer sales slump and the economy slows, but would not comment on published reports that it might eliminate up to 4,000 jobs to cut expenses by 8 percent to 10 percent.

Dell shares dropped $2.56 to $23.50.

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