Thursday, September 07, 2000

Business Digest

From Enquirer news sources

Buffett firm bids on Shaw

        Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the investment firm headed by billionaire Warren Buffett, has offered to buy a majority stake in Shaw Industries of Dalton, Ga., the world's largest carpet maker, for $19 per share in cash.

        Berkshire Hathaway wants to buy 80.1 percent to 86 percent of Shaw's outstanding shares, Shaw said Wednesday. It would then have an option to buy additional shares beginning in March 2002.

        Shaw's board is studying the offer.

Saks delays spin-offs

        Saks Inc. said Wednesday it expects to complete the spin-off of its Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off 5th and Saks Direct operations in the first half of next year, instead of this November. Birmingham, Ala.-based Saks Inc. said the delay will allow it to report full year results on a comparable basis and will give its management more time to prepare for the spin-off.

Stock fraud charged

        Federal regulators on Wednesday announced actions against 33 companies and individuals accused of using the Internet to defraud investors by manipulating prices of small-company stocks.

        It was the Securities and Exchange Commission's fourth nationwide “sweep” against online investment scams, which have cost investors millions in recent years.

        The 15 new cases all involved so-called “pump and dump” schemes, in which promoters push up a stock's price by making false claims, then sell their own shares to cash in on the artificially high price.

Novell tightens belt

        Software maker Novell Inc. is cutting 900 jobs, or 16 percent of its work force, in an attempt to lower operating expenses after dismal third quarter earnings.

        Novell said Wednesday it expects to reduce its overall operating expenses by about $25 million per quarter, beginning with the first fiscal quarter of 2001. The Provo, Utah-based company employs about 5,500 people.

        Shares of Novell, which fell 9 percent Tuesday on reports the company was expected to cut up to 25 percent of its work force, fell another 37.5 cents, to close at $10.69 Wednesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

U.S. is No. 1 competitor

        The United States has become the world's most competitive nation, displacing Singapore, according to a survey released Thursday. The report, by three Harvard University professors and the World Economic Forum of Geneva, aims to predict which countries are more likely to have a high rate of economic growth.

        Singapore now ranks second. Luxembourg was third, followed by the Netherlands, Ireland, Finland, Canada, Hong Kong, Britain and Switzerland.

        At the bottom was Ecuador, in 59th place. Just ahead of it were Bulgaria, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

  loses copyright suit
Oil shortage feared
Citigroup to buy Associates 1st Capital Corp.
Workers' productivity soars
- Business Digest
Industry notes: Commercial real estate
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