Stocks to Watch: Lernout & Hauspie, National Discount Brokers

Lernout & Hauspie will acquire Dragon Systems, a speech and language technology firm.
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Lernout & Hauspie

(LHSP)

said it will acquire privately held speech and language technology firm

Dragon Systems

for 5.45 million shares. Based in Newton, Mass., Dragon employs 350 workers, including 170 research scientists and development engineers. It had revenue of about $60 million and a net loss of about $22 million in 1999.

Deutsche Bank

said it agreed to a far-reaching e-commerce and financial services cooperation with online broker

National Discount Brokers

(NDB)

. Deutsche also said it will pay $135.93 million for a 14.6% stake in NDB. The agreement gives Deutsche access to NDB's online clients, allowing it to place shares of IPOs via the NDB distribution network. American clients will also gain access to Deutsche Bank's equities research.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Efficient Networks

(EFNT)

will acquire

Netscreen Technologies

in a stock deal worth $905 million. Efficient said Netscreen shareholders will own about 8% of the company.

Macrovision

(MVSN)

will buy the privately held

GLOBEtrotter

B2B copyright company for 11.2 million shares, valued at about $800 million.

TXU Europe

(TXU)

said it withdrew its cash offer for Spain's electricity utility

Hydroelectrica del Cantabrica

.

24/7 Media

(TFSM)

said it has a marketing pact with

Earthlink

(ELNK)

, under which it will manage marketing services for Earthlink.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.

)

First-quarter earnings for

United Airlines

parent

UAL

(UAL) - Get Report

look turbulence-free after the company said last night its report would surpass the top end of its earlier expectations, 80 cents to $1.20 a share. The company said it sees first-quarter earnings coming in between $1.25 and $1.40 a share. The 11-analyst estimate expects the company to report earnings of 98 cents a share. UAL reiterated its fiscal 2000 earnings forecast of $7 to $9 a share and attributed its anticipated 6.25% to 7% total revenue growth to robust passenger demand and higher fares.

Apollo Group

(APOL)

posted earnings of 16 cents a share, a penny better than the 18-analyst estimate and up from the year-ago 13 cents. The company also authorized an additional $50 million increase in its stock buyback program, bringing the total to $150 million.

Autobytel

(ABTL)

said it topped $3.4 billion in online car sales in the first quarter.

Hillenbrand Industries

(HB)

reported first-quarter earnings of 55 cents a share, in line with the four-analyst estimate, but lower than the year-ago 67 cents.

International Multifoods

(IMC)

stated fiscal-year 2000 earnings of $1.31 a share, in line with the five-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago $1.35. The company also posted fourth-quarter earnings of 37 cents a share, even with the five-analyst estimate and the year-ago report.

Offerings and stock actions

Deutsche Banc Alex. Brown

priced a 7.5 million-share IPO for

IntraBiotics Pharmaceuticals

(IBPI)

at the top of its $13-to-$15 range, $15 a share.

Chase H&Q

said it priced a 4 million-share IPO for

Websense

(WBSN)

above its expected $14-to-$16 price range at $18 a share.

Hasbro

(HAS) - Get Report

said 18 million shares were tendered in its dutch auction tender offer.

Southdown

(SDW)

said it is considering several option to enhance shareholder value, including a share buyback or expansion, sale or merger of the company.

TJX

(TJX) - Get Report

said it will buy back an additional $1 billion of its shares, which represents 16% of its stock at the current price

Analyst actions

Chevron

(CHV)

: BUY from hold with a price target of 100 at

CIBC World Markets

.

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

: Price target UP to 285 from 225 at

PaineWebber

.

Metalink

(MTLK)

: NEW buy at

Warburg Dillon Read

with a price target of 59.

Miscellany

Bank One

(ONE) - Get Report

said that it has

tapped former

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

president Jamie Dimon as its new chairman and CEO. According to a press release, Dimon plans to buy a 2 million-share equity stake in Bank One, which has seen its stock price stumble due to its floundering credit card unit.

Lucent

(LU)

said it will launch the first video network designed strictly for the Internet. The new venture, GeoVideo Networks, will deliver HDTV-quality, real-time Internet protocol video over an international fiber network for business-to-business functions.

Mosel Vitelic

and

Micron Technology

(MU) - Get Report

resolved a $100 million patent dispute yesterday before it entered a U.S. District Court in Delaware, according to court records. The terms of the resolution, which involved 10 patents that covered computer memory circuits and semiconductor manufacturing processes, were not disclosed. Mosel had initially brought a lawsuit claiming infringement against Micron, which countersued.

Rexall Sundown

(RXSD)

is the subject of a probe by the Florida attorney general's office,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. The investigation focuses on some of the company's business practices.

The Heard on the Street column in the

Journal

said brokerage firms have stepped up efforts to provide perks to brokers amid heated competition to build client assets. According to the story, such recruiting tactics run counter to the

Securities and Exchange Commission's

attempts to wipe out conflicts of interest on Wall Street by discouraging upfront signing bonuses, sales contests and unequal pay to push certain products.

For analysis of the market's preopen tone and trends, see the Wake-Up Call, now published separately.