Direct to Skies
Rupert Murdochs plan to add U.S. satellite beamer DirecTV to his Sky Global empire is taking a slightly different path than some analysts expected, but the deal to buy owner Hughes Electronics from General Motors is moving ahead. While Murdochs News Corp. will not put any cash into the deal, Microsoft is expected to invest about $4 billion alongside Murdoch pal John Malone.
Lucent Technologies, which has announced plans to cut 16,000 jobs, is facing more hard times, with an investigation of its accounting practices reportedly under way. The Securities and Exchange Commission is said to be examining whether Lucent improperly booked $679 million of revenue in the last fiscal year. A Lucent spokeswoman said the company is cooperating with the investigation. Meanwhile, Agere Systems, Lucents semiconductor spin-off, is planning what may be the second-largest U.S. initial public stock offering ever.
EarthLink and Sprint ended the exclusive terms of their 1998 alliance as well as Sprints right to acquire EarthLink. The agreement leaves both companies open to deals with third parties. Sprint and EarthLink will no longer have to co-brand their Internet product offerings. Under terms of the deal, Sprint will continue to market the EarthLink Sprint co-branded service to dial-up customers, but it may use EarthLinks Internet software on a wholesale basis in the future.
KPMG Consulting scored a successful initial public offering last week as its shares rose about 30 percent from the offering price. The closely watched IPO, one of the biggest ever on the Nasdaq, offered about 112.5 million shares.
Layoffs at Dell?
In what might be the latest blow to strike the slowing PC industry, Dell Computer is preparing to implement expense cuts of 8 percent to 10 percent that could include the companys first-ever round of wholesale layoffs, according to published reports last week.