British Airways

and

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

(KLM)

are exploring a possible merger that could link the two airlines. Both companies have been affected by increasing competition within Europe and on trans-Atlantic routes, though talks remain at a very preliminary stage, according to people close to the situation. KLM climbed 1 1/4, or 5.4%, to 24 3/8.

For more on this story, take a look at the

coverage out of

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

The

Federal Communications Commission

gave the go ahead for

AT&T

(T) - Get Report

to acquire

MediaOne

(UMG)

for $54 billion. The agency attached certain stipulations to the deal's approval. AT&T lifted 1 to 36 1/8, while MediaOne hopped 2 1/8 to 69 1/8.

Brokerage firm

Merrill Lynch

(MER)

is in talks to acquire one of the

Nasdaq Stock Market's

top share dealers,

Herzog Heine Geduld

, according to reports. The acquisition would enable Merrill to expand its Nasdaq market making operations. Merrill Lynch slipped 1/2 to 107 1/2.

The board of

Bestfoods

(BFO) - Get Report

is expected to meet as early as today to discuss the newest bid from

Unilever

(UN) - Get Report

, the

Wall Street Journal

reported.

The newspaper, quoting people familiar with the matter, said Unilever is offering Bestfoods' shareholders close to $72 a share, or $20.5 billion. The company earlier offered $66 a share, but it was rejected as "financially inadequate."

But, people close to the negotiations also told the newspaper, Bestfoods is in intensive talks to acquire

Campbell Soup

(CPB) - Get Report

, whose stock has fallen 46.5% during the past two years and has a market capitalization of $12.6 billion.

USA Today

reported that Bestfoods is in talks to buy the company for more than $15 billion. Bestfoods fell 2 3/8 to 62 3/4; Unilever rose 9/16 to 50 3/8; Campbell Soup advanced 1 3/16 to 31 1/8.

Restaurant operator

Buffets

(BOCB)

is being acquired by a private equity firm for $643 million, or $13.85 a share, according to

Reuters

. Buffets increased 3/4, or 6.2%, to 12 7/8.

CDNow

(CDNW)

said it is in talks with five groups about a possible investment or merger deal. The company said it expects to announce a merger or investment deal by June 30 and has drawn up a short list of prospective investors or merger partners from more than two dozen companies. CDNow lowered 11/16, or 14.1%, to 4 3/16.

Cherry

(CHER)

, which manufactures electronic components, said it accepted a buyout proposal from chairman and president Peter Cherry and his affiliates for $26.40 a share in cash. Cherry boosted 5 3/8, or 26.4%, to 25 3/4.

Cisco

(CSCO) - Get Report

will buy communications company

Elbit's

(ELBTF)

Hynex subsidiary for about $127 million. Elbit said it expects to realize a $47 million net capital gain from the sale. Cisco slipped 1 1/8 to 63 1/4, while Elbit added 1/2, or 5.1%, to 10 5/16.

Hearst-Argyle Television

(HTV)

announced an agreement with

Emmis Communications

(EMMS) - Get Report

, covering Hearst-Argyle's three radio stations in Phoenix. Under terms of the deal, Emmis will manage the Phoenix stations for up to three years, and will have the option to buy them for $160 million. Hearst-Argyle lifted 7/16 to 20 3/8, while Emmis shed 3/8 to 37 5/8.

IBM

(IBM) - Get Report

and start-up

Salesforce.com

are expected to announce a partnership to help small businesses become e-businesses, the

New York Times

reported. IBM moved up 3 5/8 to 112 7/16.

Meritor Automotive

(MRA)

and

Arvin Industries

(ARV)

received antitrust approval from the

European Union Commission

for a proposed merger between the two U.S automotive parts companies. Meritor improved 3/8 to 13 3/16, while Arvin climbed 5/16 to 19 1/16.

Motorola

(MOT)

said it received a $535 million pact from

Adelphia Business Solutions

(ABIZ)

for digital set-top terminals and modems. Motorola climbed 1 1/16 to 37 7/8, while Adelphia sank 5/8 to 29 3/8.

Primark

(PMK)

, a global information service provider of financial, economic and market research information, agreed to be bought by Canadian publisher

Thomson

for $38 a share, or about $842 million, in a cash tender offer. The merger agreement, which was approved by both companies' boards, calls for Thomson to assume about $235 million in Primark debt. Primark soared 8 7/16, or 29.1%, to 37 7/16.

For more on the Primark

story, take a look at

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

coverage.

China's

Unicom

(UCM)

confirmed it will not use

Qualcomm's

(QCOM) - Get Report

code-division multiple access (CDMA) mobile phone technology for at least three years. Qualcomm's stock fell sharply last week when talk of Unicom's about face began to hit the market. Unicom decreased 1 1/4 to 39 3/4, while Qualcomm dropped 5 7/16, or 7.5%, to 67 1/4.

Qualcomm was upgraded to buy from hold at

Edward Jones

.

For more on the Unicom/Qualcomm merger take a look at the

story out of

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com

joint newsroom.

Verisign

(VRSN) - Get Report

,

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

and

Ariba

(ARBA)

are in an alliance for payment for infrastructure for B2B e-commerce. Verisign shed 4 11/16 to 177 11/16; American Express decreased 7/8 to 55 5/8; Ariba jumped 10, or 14.2%, to 80 1/2.

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Sportwear manufacturer

Oakley

(OO)

estimates second-quarter earnings at 21 cents a share, above the two-analyst estimate of 18 cents . Oakley hopped 1 5/8, or 16.9%, to 11 1/4.

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Upgrades

AES

(AES) - Get Report

: UP to intermediate-term accumulate from neutral; target price: 55. AES slipped 2 1/8 to 43 7/8.

Cabot Oil & Gas

(COG) - Get Report

: UP to buy from market performer at

J.P. Morgan

. Cabot Oil & Gas edged up 1/4 to 2 1/2.

Cigna

(CI) - Get Report

: 2001 EPS UP to $7.50 from $7.40 at

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

, price target: UP to 120 from 110. Cigna stumbled 1 1/2 to 87 7/8.

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

: UP to strong buy from buy at ING Barings; price target UP to 78. Citigroup declined 3/16 to 66 7/16.

Goodyear

(GT) - Get Report

: BUY from market performer at

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

, price target: 35. Goodyear edged up 5/16 to 28 1/8.

Human Genome Sciences

(HGSI)

: UP to long-term buy from long-term accumulate at

Merrill Lynch

. Human Genome jumped up 7 9/16, or 7.1%, to 113 1/2.

Pharmacia

(PHA)

: UP to attractive from neutral at

PaineWebber

; price target up to 60 from 55. Pharmacia lifted 11/16 to 50.

Schlumberger

(SLB) - Get Report

: UP to top pick from buy at DLJ. Schlumberger skidded 1/2 to 69 1/16.

Downgrades

Computer Motion

(RBOT)

: DOWN to neutral from buy at

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffrey

. Computer Motion declined 3/16 to 7 9/16.

Golden West Financial

(GDW)

: DOWN to neutral from attractive at PaineWebber. Golden West slumped 2 7/16, or 5.3%, to 43 9/16.

MGIC Investment Group

(MTG) - Get Report

: DOWN to attractive from buy at PaineWebber. MGIC stumbled 11/16 to 53 13/16.

Initiations

Autonomy

(AUTN)

: NEW buy at

Banc of America

. Autonomy bounced 4 3/8 to 114 3/8.

LSI Logic

(LSI) - Get Report

: NEW buy at

Lehman Brothers

. Price target: 85. LSI Logic popped 1 7/8 to 64 3/8.

MIPS Technologies

(MIPS)

: NEW buy at

Lehman Brothers

, price target: 45. MIPS climbed 3 7/8, or 11.9%, to 36 1/8.

NRG Energy

(NRG) - Get Report

: NEW buy at

Credit Suisse First Boston

; price target: 25; and NEW buy at

ABN Amro

. NRG Energy declined 5/16 to 16 15/16.

CSFB assumed coverage of

Wind River Systems

(WIND)

with a STRONG BUY rating. Wind River moved up 3 3/8, or 9.2%, to 40.

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

: NEW outperform at

Lehman Brothers

; year-end price target: 105. Texas Instruments fell 1 11/16 to 84.

Group moves

DLJ downgraded three banks:

  • Bank of America (BAC) - Get Report: DOWN to market perform from buy. Bank of America stumbled 1 3/4 to 59 1/4.
  • Firstar (FSR) : DOWN to market perform from buy. Firstar lost 1 3/8, or 5%, to 26 1/16.
  • Wells Fargo (WFC) - Get Report: DOWN to market perform from buy. Wells Fargo shed 2 5/8, or 5.5%, to 45 1/8.

Salomon Smith Barney rolled out coverage of several semiconductor equipment companies:

  • Veeco Instruments (VECO) - Get Report: as an outperform. Veeco tacked on 1/2 to 56 3/4.
  • Credence Systems (CMOS) : as an outperform. Credence hopped 1 1/8 to 65 1/4.
  • Electro Scientific Industries (ESIO) - Get Report: as a buy. Electro Scientific declined 1/8 to 52 9/16.

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NTL

(NTLI)

advanced 2 3/8 to 71 after it said it is examining issuing a tracking stocks or may spin off its five divisions, starting with its broadcast business this year.

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Chip maker

Advanced Micro Devices

(AMD) - Get Report

said it is introducing its new Athlon processor, which ranges from 750 megahertz to one gigahertz in speed and $319 and $990 in price. The company said

Compaq

(CPQ)

,

Gateway

(GTW)

,

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

and IBM are planning to introduce computer systems based on its Athlon processor.

AMD lifted 1 3/8 to 91 1/2 and Compaq declined 1/4 to 26 3/8, while Gateway lost 2 7/8, or 5.2%, to 51 7/8. H-P jumped 9 7/16, or 8.5%, to 120 3/8 and IBM tacked on 3 5/8 to 112 7/16.

American Express Publishing

, a partnership between

Time Warner

(TWX)

and

American Express

(AXP) - Get Report

, is expected to announce it has appointed Ed Kelly as president and CEO, according to the

Journal

. Kelly has been group publisher for American Express' Travel & Leisure magazines. Time Warner stumbled 1 1/4 to 81 1/2 and American Express skidded 7/8 to 55 5/8.

Charles Schwab

(SCH)

is expected to announce wireless trading for its online customers, the

New York Times

reported. According to the story, the move comes a year and a half after competitor

Fidelity Investments

introduced the service though the wireless trading market remains small enough that Schwab does not consider itself late to the game. Charles Schwab stumbled 1 1/16 to 32 7/16.

Cypress Communications

(CYCO)

added 9/16, or 6.7%, to 8 15/16 after it named W. Frank Blount chairman and CEO, while R. Stanley Allen, the company's co-founder and current CEO, was appointed vice chairman.

Blount previously served as CEO of Australian telecommunications company

Telstra

(TLS)

until March 1999. Telstra shed 7/16 to 20.

Ford's

(F) - Get Report

newly acquired British-based

Land Rover

unit said it will recall about 10,000 Discovery and Defender TD5 models in order to replace engine flywheels on manual transmission models.

Land Rover, which makes sport utility vehicles and was recently sold to Ford from BMW, said it also planned to inspect the vehicles' clutch parts for signs of wear, saying new tests had shown that "high energy inputs" into the clutch and flywheel system could lead to failure of the flywheel assembly in some cases.

It was also recalling about 1,300 Discovery Series 2 V8 models to upgrade the engine idler pulley. Ford tacked on 7/8 to 50 7/8.

Heller Financial

(HF) - Get Report

, a U.S. leverage-finance firm, said it would launch a new

European Leverage Finance Group

with initial funding of $1 billion.

The company said in a statement that the group, which will be based in London, will offer cash-flow financing solutions to venture capital markets and companies throughout Europe. Heller edged up 9/16 to 20 3/4.

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

is expected to unveil part of its next generation Internet technology today, despite the overhanging worry of a federal antitrust ruling,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. The new feature, BizTalk Server, will assist businesses with their e-commerce transactions. Microsoft lifted 9/16 to 66 7/8.

Drug developer

PathoGenesis

(PGNS)

said it will explore strategic options but said it is still on track to meet expectations for 2000. PathoGenesis bounced 1 13/16, or 10%, to 19 15/16.

Online investment bank

Wit Capital

(WITC)

announced that Ronald Readmond has resigned as co-CEO and Robert Lessin will become sole CEO. The company also said it appointed Russell Crabs and Mark Loehr as co-presidents. Crabs and Loehr were previously co-heads of the company's Wit SoundView division. Wit stumbled 13/32 to 9.

The Heard on the Street column in the

Journal

looked at bookseller

Borders

(BGP)

, which announced in March it was exploring strategic alternatives to help its troubled stock price. Shareholder activist and fund manager Barry Lafer urged the company to consider options including a leveraged buyout and stock buyback after he acquired a 2.8% stake. But, the story says, none of those actions will necessarily translate into a boost for the stock price. Borders skidded 3/8 to 17 1/8.

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