Company Report: Qualcomm Pops on Microsoft Pact and LG&E Soars on Merger

Author:
Publish date:

Qualcomm (QCOM) - Get Report popped 9 11/16, or 7.3%, to 143 1/4 and Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report inched up 1/4 to 91 9/16 after the companies said they formed a wireless multimedia device pact.

Separately, Microsoft and

Software AG

said they would team up to link the Windows operating system to non-Windows systems.

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

dropped 4 7/8 to 200 and

America Online

(AOL)

climbed 1 to 60 5/8 after the companies said AOL's

Instant Messenger

will be offered on Nokia mobile phones.

Research in Motion

(RIMM)

gained 8 13/16, or 6.3%, to 147 3/4 after it said it struck a supply deal with AOL and

Compaq

(CPQ)

for its interactive pagers. Compaq, which said it cut prices on DeskPro PCs by up to 16%, slipped 1/2 to 25 1/2.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Dexter

(DEX) - Get Report

jumped 4 9/16, or 12.2%, to 42 after it said it had decided to explore strategic alternatives and would allow suitors to look at confidential data. Dexter is the target of a $930 million unsolicited bid from

International Specialty Products

(ISP)

. International Specialty was unchanged at 6 1/16.

Online auctioneering giant

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

could make a $1.6 billion bid to acquire

Sotheby's

(BID) - Get Report

, London's

Independent on Sunday

reported. Citing unnamed industry sources, the newspaper reported that five-year-old eBay was said to be interested in buying 256-year-old Sotheby's.

The

U.S. Justice Department

has been investigating price-fixing allegations involving Sotheby's and rival

Christie's

. Also, the two auction houses face dozens of civil lawsuits accusing them of collusion. Last week, two key execs at Sotheby's resigned. eBay fell 5 3/4 to 145 1/16 and Sotheby's gained 1 13/16, or 9.3%, to 21 5/16.

Ericsson

(ERICY)

,

Volvo

(VOLVY)

and telecom operator

Telia

said they are forming a joint firm, called

WirelessCar

, to deliver mobile Web services to the automotive industry. Ericsson rose 3/8 to 98, Volvo edged down 1/16 to 23 7/16.

Brightpoint

(CELL)

said some of its units have agreed to deliver Ericsson phones to customers in Asia and Africa. Brightpoint inched up 3/8 to 12 3/4.

NiSource

(NI) - Get Report

lost 2 9/16, or 16.5%, to 13 after it said it is buying

Columbia Energy

(CG) - Get Report

for $6 billion. Columbia Energy climbed 2 5/16 to 59 3/8.

NiSource will also assume $2.5 billion in Columbia debt. Upon completion of the deal, Columbia and NiSource will become wholly owned divisions of a new holding company. Under terms of the deal, Columbia shareholders may receive $70 a share in cash for each share of Columbia they own, plus $2.60 in a zero coupon debt security with a forward equity contract, called SAILS. Columbia shareholders also have the option to receive, in lieu of cash and SAILS, new holding company stock for up to 30% of outstanding Columbia shares.

Under the common stock option, each Columbia share will be exchanged for $74 a share in new holding company stock, subject to a collar. If the average NiSource share price during the 30 days preceding the closing of the deal is greater than $16.50, Columbia shareholders will receive shares of new holding company stock valued at $74 for each Columbia share. However, if the average NiSource share price during the 30 days prior to closing of the transaction is $16.50 or below, Columbia shareholders will receive 4.4848 shares of new holding company stock for each Columbia share. Columbia closed Friday at 57 11/16, while NiSource closed at 15 9/16.

For more on this

story, check out the coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

.

NetIQ

(NTIQ)

lost 5 1/2, or 7.5%, to 68 and

Mission Critical

(MCSW)

slipped 19/32 to 61 21/32 after the companies said they will merge in a stock swap. Mission Critical shareholders will get 0.9413 shares of NetIQ per share.

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

lost 2 to 68 5/8 after it said it would join with

Sears

(S) - Get Report

and

Carrefour

for an online B2B retail exchange called

GlobalNetXchange

. Sears gained 1 7/16, or 5.6%, to 27 5/16.

Last week,

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

,

Ford

(F) - Get Report

and

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

said they planned to combine their online buying efforts for suppliers in a single Net portal.

Ford and GM said as part of their combo, Ford would swap half of its stake in Oracle's

Oracle Exchange

unit for half of GM's stake in

Commerce One

(CMRC)

.

Salomon Smith Barney

raised its price target on Oracle to 85 from 50.

Britain's

PowerGen

(PWG)

lost 15/16 to 27 9/16 after it agreed to acquire Kentucky-based

LG&E Energy

(LGE)

for $3.2 billion. PowerGen is offering $24.85 a share and expects the deal to be complete by early 2001. LG&E gained 6 1/8, or 38.9%, to 21 7/8.

Quintus

(QNTS)

dropped 7 1/2, or 15.5%, to 40 3/4 after saying it is acquiring

Mustang.com

(MSTG)

in a stock swap valued at $290 million.Mustang.com moved up 3 3/4, or 14.5%, to 29 5/8.

3Com

(COMS)

dropped 1 5/8 to 79 1/16 after it and

Samsung

said they will offer high-speed wireless networks.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

Earnings estimates from First Call; new highs and lows on a closing basis unless otherwise specified. Earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.

)

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

rose 2 3/16 to 65 11/16 after it posted fourth-quarter operating profit of $2.4 billion. Adjusted for one-time effects, operating profit was $2.7 billion. Fourth-quarter net income came in at $1.1 billion and on an adjusted basis $1.6 billion. Fourth-quarter revenues totaled $41.7 billion. Separately, DaimlerChrysler said it would seek approval to buyback 10% of its shares.

Offerings and stock actions

Alkermes

(ALKS) - Get Report

added 5 1/4 to 179 1/2 after it set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

rose 1 11/16 to 39 after it said it will repurchase up to 2 million shares during the fiscal year ended June.

EchoStar Communications

(DISH) - Get Report

rose 2 1/4 to 111 3/4 after it approved a 2-for-1 stock split.

Millennium Pharmaceuticals

(MLNM)

shed 10 to 253 after it approved a 2-for-1 stock split.

Analyst actions

Credit Suisse First Boston

initiated coverage of

Alamosa PCS

(APCS)

with a buy rating. Alamosa PCS declined 2 3/8, or 8.1%, to 26 5/8.

Merrill Lynch

raised

Alstom

(ALS)

to near-term accumulate from neutral. Alstom tacked on 1/4 to 22 5/8.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

lifted

American International Group

(AIG) - Get Report

to strong buy from outperform. American International Group bounced 3 9/16 to 87 3/16.

SG Cowen

cut

Conexant

(CNXT) - Get Report

to buy from strong buy. Conexant slumped 18 13/16, or 16.2%, to 96 13/16.

Wit Soundview

started coverage of

Critical Path

(CPTH)

as a strong buy and set a price target of 150. Critical Path lifted 4 3/16, or 5.4%, to 81 11/16.

PaineWebber

started coverage of

Digital Lightwave

(DIGL)

as attractive. Digital Lightwave fell 3 5/16 to 86 7/16.

Merrill Lynch initiated coverage of

Dobson Communications

(DCEL)

with an intermediate-term accumulate rating and a long-term buy rating. Dobson added 3/16 to 21 7/8.

ING Barings

started

Hispanic Broadcasting

(HBCCA)

as a buy. Hispanic Broadcasting climbed 2 to 88 1/4.

CSFB upgraded

Informatica

(INFA)

to strong buy from buy. Informatica rose 12, or 8.3%, to 156.

CSFB reinstated coverage of

King Pharmaceuticals

(KING)

with a buy rating. King Pharmaceuticals declined 1 1/2 to 49 1/4.

Morgan Stanley upgraded

MBNA

(KRB)

to strong buy from outperform. MBNA mounted 1 1/16 to 22 7/16.

J.P. Morgan

started coverage of

Maxim Pharmaceuticals

(MMP) - Get Report

at buy. Maxim Pharmaceuticals lifted 1/4 to 72 3/4.

Lehman Brothers

started

Quantum Effect

(QEDI)

at outperform and set a price target of 150. Quantum Effect sank 16 1/4, or 15.1%, to 91.

Merrill cut

Sara Lee

(SLE)

to near-term accumulate from buy. Sara Lee added 1/16 to 14 15/16.

Bear Stearns

raised

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

to buy from neutral. Schering-Plough stumbled 3/16 to 34 13/16.

Morgan Stanley raised

Charles Schwab

(SCH)

to outperform from neutral and set a price target of 49. Charles Schwab was unchanged at 37 7/8.

CSFB initiated coverage of

SkillSoft

(SKIL)

with a strong buy rating. SkillSoft added 1 1/8, or 7.2%, to 16 3/4.

CSFB initiated coverage of

Telaxis Communications

(TLXS)

with a buy rating. Telaxis declined 5 13/16, or 7.6%, to 70.

Goldman Sachs

initiated coverage of

Turnstone Systems

(TSTN)

with a market outperform rating. Turnstone Systems gained 4 1/2 to 165.

Miscellany

In an unexpected announcement,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

said that

John Reed

, chairman and co-CEO of the financial services powerhouse, has told the board he is retiring effective at the company's annual shareholders meeting on April 18th.

Sandy Weill

will become chairman and sole CEO of Citigroup, effective at the meeting.

Also, Weill told the board, taking into account his own plans for retirement, he intends to work with a committee of the board on a plan of succession, with the goal of coming up with a successor within two years. Citigroup mounted 1 3/8 to 49 3/8.

Conseco

(CNC) - Get Report

slid 1/8 to 14 1/2 after it named Thomas Kilian president and COO.

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

and

Dow Jones

(DJ)

named Don Hutchinson as CEO of Work.com. Excite@Home declined 5/8 to 33 3/8, while Dow Jones gained 2 to 60 1/8.

Journal Register

(JRC)

is selling its Illinois, Missouri and Ohio newspaper assets.

Midwest Express Airlines'

pilots ratified a five-year contract with the airline, which is based in Milwaukee. The airline is a unit of

Midwest Express Holdings

(MEH)

. Journal Register added 5/8, or 5.2%, to 12 1/2, while Midwest Express Holdings edged up 7/16 to 24 1/2.

The

Securities and Exchange Commission

has notified 52 companies audited by

PriceWaterhouseCoopers

that conflicts of interest involving firm employees' personal investments in the companies could affect the integrity of their financial statements

The Wall Street Journal

reported, citing people at the auditing firm. The list of companies notified included

Lucent Technologies

(LU)

and Compaq. Compaq announced last week it was switching auditors. Lucent Technologies 1 1/16 to 58 3/16.

The Heard on the Street column in the

Journal

reported that a top rulemaking panel at the

Financial Accounting Standards Board

is considering whether the rules should be changed to restrict Internet businesses from including the entire value of product sales or services they arrange between suppliers and buyers online in their revenue figures. For many dot-com companies, such revenue is an important part of their financial health at a time when they have no profits to show, according to the story.