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Archive for Wednesday, January 17, 2001

BUSINESS BRIEFCASE FOR WEDNESDAY

January 17, 2001

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As expected, food giant Nestle S.A. announced Tuesday that it would buy pet food maker Ralston Purina for $10 billion in cash, linking such brands as Alpo, Purina, Friskies and Meow Mix.

Nestle S.A. chairman Rainer Gut, left, shared a laugh (above) with Ralston Purina chairman William Stiritz during the announcement that Nestle would pay $33.50 per Ralston share and assume $1.2 billion in debt to be offset in part by gains of $900 million from existing financial investments.

Officials said they expected the deal to close by year's end, subject to regulatory and shareholder approval.

TYSON-IBP

Attorney general

to review merger

Atty. Gen. Carla Stovall plans to review Tyson Foods Inc.'s pending acquisition of IBP Inc. to determine if it meets the state's antitrust requirements.

Kansas would join a group of other states -- currently Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Texas and Minnesota -- in reviewing the "anti-competitive impact" of the merger, said John Campbell, senior deputy attorney general, in a letter to state Sen. Derek Schmidt, R-Independence.

A merged Tyson-IBP would be expected to control more than 30 percent of the chicken and beef markets, plus 18 percent of the pork market.

AIRLINES

Icahn mulls fighting

American for TWA

Carl Icahn, the billionaire financier who formerly ran Trans World Airlines Inc., reportedly is trying to line up partners for a rival bid against American Airlines' deal for the assets of financially ailing TWA.

An Icahn representative declined to identify potential third parties contacted about an Icahn bid.

Fort Worth-based AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines, announced last week it had agreed to pay $500 million and assume responsibility for $3 billion in TWA's aircraft leases in a deal for most of TWA's assets.

TECHNOLOGY

Intel earnings

beat lowered estimates

Giant semiconductor manufacturer Intel Corp. eased past Wall Street expectations for its fourth-quarter earnings, but warned of an uncertain near future given the slowing economy.

Helped by strong investment gains, Intel reported income for the quarter ending Dec. 30 of $2.2 billion, or 32 cents per share. Excluding acquisition-related costs, income was $2.6 billion, or 38 cents per share, up from $2.4 billion, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago period, the company said Tuesday.

Revenue for the quarter was $8.70 billion, compared to $8.21 billion a year earlier.

ECONOMY

Inventories rise

as sales drop

Inventories of unsold goods at U.S. companies piled up in November as sales fell for the second consecutive month, adding to mounting evidence of a slumping economy.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that stockpiles of goods on shelves and backlots nationwide rose by 0.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted $1.22 trillion in November. Sales dropped by 0.3 percent to $896.3 billion.

The inventory-to-sales ratio, which measures how long it would take businesses to exhaust their inventories at November's sales pace, rose to 1.36 months, the highest since April 1999.

TRUCKING

Penske to buy Rollins

Penske Truck Leasing Co. has agreed to acquire Wilmington, Del.-based Rollins Truck Leasing Corp. for approximately $754 million.

The deal announced Monday unites the nation's second-largest truck leasing and rental company, Penske, with the third-largest, Rollins. Ryder is the No. 1 truck leasing company.

Penske, based in Reading, will pay $13 per share to acquire all outstanding shares of Rollins. Rollins closed Friday at $8.44 per share.

The Rollins board of directors has approved the agreement.

Penske has annual revenues of $2.7 billion. The company operates more than 152,000 trucks and serves customers from approximately 750 locations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, South America and Europe.

Rollins services more than 53,000 vehicles from about 270 locations in the United States and Canada. It had $720 million in revenues for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

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