Wednesday, August 07, 2002

Business Digest




Nestle buys Chef America for $2.6B

        GENEVA - Food and drinks giant Nestle announced Tuesday that it was buying U.S. food company Chef America, which makes the Hot Pockets brand of frozen sandwich, for $2.6 billion.

        The news came as speculation built that Nestle is a prospective buyer of Hershey Foods, the largest U.S. candy maker, in a deal that could be worth $10 billion.

        The Denver-based Chef America, which is privately held, expects sales of $720 million in 2002 - an increase of more than 15 percent on last year.

        Nestle said the deal required regulatory approval but it hoped to complete the purchase within 60 days.

        The purchase of Chef America is the fourth big takeover within a year for Nestle and is expected to push the company's net debt over 20 billion.

New head of AOL division named

        NEW YORK - AOL Time Warner Inc. tapped an outsider Tuesday to revive America Online, naming former USA Interactive executive Jonathan F. Miller as the new head of the struggling division.

        The appointment, the latest in a broader management shake-up, comes just weeks after the company confirmed that the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department are looking into its financial statements, particularly in the America Online division. At the same time, revenues have fallen as advertising dollars have become more scarce and subscribers more fickle - further battering AOL's already diminished stock price.

        The selection of Mr. Miller, a former executive at USA Interactive, reflects the company's desire to further develop AOL's e-commerce capabilities. At USA Interactive, Mr. Miller, 45, oversaw Expedia, Hotels.com and other e-commerce operations.

Tyco's Breen suspends plan to expand board

        Tyco International Ltd. chief executive officer Ed Breen, in his second week on the job, stopped plans to add four seats to the conglomerate's board, named DuPont Co.'s former chairman to fill one vacant seat and appointed a head of corporate governance.

        The maker of ADT security systems, amid investor concern about management and accounting, had scheduled a Sept. 5 vote on a proposal to increase the board to 15 members. Tyco had been without a CEO since former chairman and CEO Dennis Kozlowski was ousted in June. It had been run by lead director John Fort.

        Mr. Breen has quickly dismissed management tied to Mr. Kozlowski. Thursday, Tyco said chief financial officer Mark Swartz and interim general counsel Irving Gutin would step down once replacements were found.

        Mr. Breen will wait until completing his review of governance before making changes to the board, Tyco said in a statement.

       



Shareholders at Peoples also take a hit
Check cutters: Not our fault
Pay, jobs safe; but Delta says other cuts possible
Industry Notes: Banking
Verizon, BellSouth bundling phone services
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