(Updated from 7:06 p.m. Thursday)

With its future prospects dim, famed copier giant

Xerox

(XRX) - Get Xerox Holdings Corporation (XRX) Report

has turned to prominent players in the leveraged buyout world in order to craft a survival strategy.

TheStreet.com's

Adam Lashinsky, in a separate story, writes about four leveraged buyout firms that are

taking a look at the company.

Dell

(DELL) - Get Dell Technologies Inc Class C Report

this morning said it expects to post total sales of about $32 billion for 2001, maintaining a forecast it made before issuing a profit warning in January.

Speaking at an e-business conference in Copenhagen, Dell Chairman and CEO Michael Dell said the PC bellwether expects more than over 50% of revenue to come from online sales and foresees the number of servers worldwide growing 20-fold in five years time.

Today's vote of confidence follows a string of earnings warnings issued by the company. Its fifth and

most recent warning on Jan. 22 lowered its fourth-quarter projections, citing softness in worldwide PC demand. In November it said it expected

slower sales growth for the 2001 fiscal year. Analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

are, on average, expecting 2001 revenue of $29.8 billion, compared with $25.3 billion in 2000.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Avery Dennison

(AVY) - Get Avery Dennison Corporation Report

makes those Marks-A-Lot pens, the ones with those killer fumes. The company also makes adhesives, and just announced that it purchased

Dunsirn Industries

, a privately held custom label maker. Terms of the deal were not released, but Avery said the deal would help it push its label business into new markets.

$825 million! Sold! To the massive film studio in the white hat!

Cablevision Systems

(CVC)

announced that it sold a 20% stake in four cable networks -- American Movie Classics, Bravo, Independent Film Channel and We: Women's Entertainment -- to

MGM

(MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International (MGM) Report

for $825 million in cash. The deal gives Cablevision access to MGM's film library and MGM access to Cablevision's cable networks.

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Earnings/revenue reports and previews

UnitedHealth

(UNH) - Get UnitedHealth Group Incorporated Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings that surpassed analysts' expectations by 3 cents, reflecting strong overall growth.

The Minneapolis-based managed health care company, the nation's second-largest health insurer, earned $193 million, or 58 cents a share, up from $152 million, or 44 cents a share, in the same period last year. According to

First Call/Thomson Financial

, 20 analysts expected fourth-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter was $5.43 billion, up from $4.99 billion a year ago, with premium revenue growing to $4.8 billion from $4.45 billion. The company also said it added 2.1 million customers in its Uniprise and UnitedHealthcare segments in the 12 months ended Jan. 31.

Walgreen

(WAG)

said same-store sales rose 15.5% in the month of January from the year-ago period.

The retail drugstore chain had total sales in January of $2.03 billion, up 21.7% from last year. Comparable pharmacy sales rose 25%. Strong sales came from skin care, diet products, women's fragrances, batteries, disposable cameras and consumables.

After Thursday's Close

American Power Conversion

( APCC) is probably best known for its surge protectors, which keep computers safe from brown outs. Fine, but what's going to keep American Power safe from brown outs? This company could probably use additional protection after it announced fourth-quarter earnings of 20 cents a share, missing the Wall Street forecast by three cents and the year-ago quarter's 34 cents a share. Not that the future's gonna look much better. The company called off its 2001 guidance, saying the future was uncertain and that it would give guidance after taking a hard look at the bottom line in the first quarter.

Business Objects

( BOBJ) provides smart-guy software for lunkheaded companies who lack the savvy to use computers to probe their databases. And wouldn't you know it -- business is pretty good. The company announced fourth-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, topping the 31-cent estimate and the year-ago 23 cents.

Buy.com

(BUYX)

likes to bill itself as the Internet Superstore, hawking just about everything from golf clubs to computer equipment. Fourth-quarter losses came in at 20 cents a share, a penny worse than the 19-cent estimate, but better than last year's 44-cent loss. Revenues declined, driving home the exclamation point on a disappointing quarter. The fourth-quarter came in with revenues of $196.7 million, about $23 million less than estimates and $4 million less than last year.

Clearly, Buy.com is having some problems. And to remedy them, the company will sell off its entire U.K. operation, terminate a would-be Australian operation and end its effort in Canada. In effect, Buy is going to focus on America. Twenty-five unlucky souls will also lose their jobs. That's 10% of Buy.com's workforce.

And the Internet Superstore also said it would be a little less super, narrowing its merchandise to computer stuff, consumer electronics stuff, wireless stuff and clearance items, which is stuff that's on sale. 2001 revenues are now expected to come in between $580 million and $600 million, far less than the $1.05 billion expected by analysts.

Crompton

TheStreet Recommends

( CK) announced fourth-quarter earnings of 10 cents a share, beating the 9-cent estimate and the year-ago 8 cents. The specialty chemical company said first-quarter results would come in at the low end of expectations.

Incyte Genomics

(INCY) - Get Incyte Corporation (INCY) Report

? More like "In-line Genomics." The company announced a fourth-quarter loss of 11 cents a share, exactly what the folks at

First Call/Thomson Financial

wanted to hear. Revenue grew to $55.4 million, again, right in line with estimates.

Methode Electronics

(METHA)

provides a lot of electronic doodads to

Ford

(F) - Get Ford Motor Company Report

and

DaimlerChrysler

( DCX). Unfortunately, the automakers face a pretty tough road ahead, with big-ticket items like massive sport utility vehicles not selling so well. And that means bad things for Methode. The company announced that third-quarter earnings would be 10% lower than last year's 21 cents. Analysts expect the company to make 26 cents a share. To combat the miss, Methode will be cutting costs by 10%, trimming its workforce.

Silicon Storage

(SSTI) - Get ShotSpotter, Inc. Report

makes flash-based memory gizmos that end up in digital cameras and MP3 players. And with the economy slowing and tech spending declining, the company announced fourth-quarter earnings of 42 cents a share and revenues of $161 million.

The number misses both the 46-cent analyst earnings estimate and the $193.8 million revenue estimate. Going forward, the company said that 2001 earnings would come in between $1.50 and $1.75 a share, roundly missing the $2.48 estimate. Not such a flashy earnings release.

Sinclair Broadcasting

(SBGI) - Get Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. Class A Report

announced a fourth-quarter loss of 16 cents a share, missing the one-cent loss that Wall Street was looking for. Last year, the company, which owns about 60 local television stations, lost 22 cents a share, so this is something of an improvement. Going forward, Sinclair said that broadcast revenues will slide in 2001, with the first quarter coming in 11% lower than the current quarter.

Hey. These companies aren't the only bugger out with earnings news.

TheStreet.com

loves earnings season. Catch up on the latest headlines and other stocks worth watching.

  • Barnes & Noble.com Delays Releasing Fourth-Quarter Results
  • Activision Clears Estimates, Raises Guidance
  • American Power Misses Estimates, Rescinds Guidance for 2001
  • Starbucks January Same-Store Sales Rose 6%
  • Copper Mountain Meets Estimates, Sees Revenue Slowdown
  • Verizon Downplays Slowdown but Cuts Back on Capital Spending

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Offerings and stock actions

RSA Security

( RSAS) picked up a little privately held number called

Xcert International

for $67 million in cash. The online security firm said the acquisition would help strengthen its ability to secure applications via the Internet. The company also announced a 3-for-2 stock split, effective March 26.

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Miscellany

The road was rocky for

Critical Path

(CPTH)

this morning on news it is investigating its revenue-recognition practices and has put two executives on "administrative leave."

The San Francisco-based Internet messaging software provider says it has formed a special investigation committee to determine whether its fourth-quarter results -- a net loss of $11.5 million, excluding special charges, on revenue of $52 million -- may have been ``materially misstated.'' Critical Path also said in its brief statement it "discovered a number of transactions" that put the financial results in a questionable light.

The company has put David Thatcher, its president, and William Rinehart, the vice president of worldwide sales, on administrative leave. It did not provide any other details.

Netpliance

(NPLI)

said it would lay off 76 employees, approximately 54% of its staff, and narrow the company's focus to broadband infrastructure development.

The layoffs come on top of 93 jobs eliminated in December when the Round Rock, Texas-based firm announced it was shifting its focus from the manufacture of its I-opener Web-surfing appliance to the licensing of the product design and service to others. In December, the company announced that an investor group headed by its CEO wants to

take the company private.

After Thursday's Close

ACE

( ACL) sells insurance at home and abroad. Now, to increase efficiency, the company said it would split its operations into two units, each with their own CEOs and presidents. Dominic Frederico, who is currently the CEO and president of the company, will helm the U.S. group, which also includes lovely Bermuda. John Charman will become the top guy in the ACE International Group.

Those obese toddler mascots over at

Campbell Soup

(CPB) - Get Campbell Soup Company Report

will be getting a new CFO soon. Basil Anderson, the soupmaker's current CFO, announced his intentions to retire on April 30.

Worthington Industries

(WOR) - Get Worthington Industries, Inc. Report

, which operates steel mills all over the U.S., not just in the Philadelphia suburbs, announced that it would shut down part of its Malvern plant, eliminating 160 jobs, or 2% of its workforce. The company said the plant had been a marginal operation for several years. The business done in Malvern will now be given to other plants.

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