Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Business Digest



Starting Thursday, call it Time Warner

NEW YORK - As of Thursday, the world's largest media company will officially drop "AOL" from its name and be known as "Time Warner Inc.," as it was before it announced a merger with America Online at the height of the Internet boom in early 2000.

The company's shares will resume trading under their former ticker symbol of "TWX" Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, instead of "AOL." The company will also change its Web site to www.timewarner.com from www.aoltimewarner.com.

Analyst's concerns hurt eBay shares

Shares of eBay Inc. fell 2.4 percent after a Smith Barney analyst reduced his rating to "sell" because of concern about the online auctioneer's automotive-auction sales potential.

The business, which accounted for as much as 20 percent of eBay's sales increases in the past two years, may not achieve growth expectations unless eBay makes changes, according to Smith Barney analyst Lanny Baker. He was the first analyst at a major Wall Street firm to downgrade the shares to "sell," according to Bloomberg data.

Starbucks to offer own credit card

Starbucks Corp., the largest U.S. coffee-shop chain, plans to offer a credit card that allows customers to earn a percentage of each transaction toward the purchase of food, beverages and merchandise at its stores.

Starbucks is joining with Bank One Corp. and Visa International Inc. on the Starbucks Card Duetto Visa, the companies said.

Customers will receive 1 percent back in "Duetto Dollars" on each card purchase, redeemable at Starbucks stores.

Motorola earnings better than expected

CHICAGO - Motorola Inc. issued better-than-expected third-quarter results and an upbeat forecast Monday, rushing out its earnings report early to counter a Moody's downgrade of its debt and concern about its future.

The company announced a $116 million profit and cited a boom in orders for new cell phones as evidence its stuttering recovery remains on track despite a pending leadership change and Wall Street's skepticism.

Smithfield top bidder for Farmland's pork

RICHMOND, Va. - Pork processing giant Smithfield Foods Inc. said Monday it won the bidding in an auction for bankrupt Farmland Industries Inc.'s pork business.

As part of the agreement, Smithfield will pay $367.4 million in cash for almost all the assets of the Kansas City, Mo., company's pork division, Farmland Foods. It will also assume $90 million in pension obligations, boosting the combined value of the bid to $457.4 million.

- From wire reports




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NATIONAL BUSINESS HEADLINES
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Business Digest