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Mirage Resorts


contemplates a response to an unsolicited $3.4 billion bid for it by

MGM Grand


, some casino companies also are thinking about making offers for Mirage,

The Wall Street Journal

reported. The newspaper reported that

Park Place Entertainment



Harrah's Entertainment


are both thinking about making a move to acquire Mirage.

Two IPOs are set to make their trading debuts during today's session. For more on their pricing and underwriting information, check out's

Offerings and stock action


Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures



Chairman and CEO, Richard L. Huber, at an Aetna board meeting today, is expected by Wall Street to move ahead on the idea of selling part of the company to boost its stock price,

The Wall Street Journal


BP Amoco


is offering to shed all of

Atlantic Richfield's


Alaskan assets, a move that could avoid a showdown in court with the

Federal Trade Commission


USA Today

reported. Earlier this month, the FTC said it will seek a preliminary injunction in federal court to prevent the merger of the two oil companies.

Drugstore chain



is closing in on a deal to purchase

Rite Aid's


PCS Health Systems

, Rite Aid's pharmacy benefit management division, according to published reports. Reports say CVS could pay between $800 million to $1 billion for the business.

Cisco Systems


said it has entered a global business deal with

Deutsche Telekom



Pacific Life Insurance

on Wednesday submitted a "shareholder-based proposal" to the board of

Prison Realty Trust


"to invest in and restructure" the company. Pacific Life said the proposal "would involve additional value, less dilution and potentially higher returns for existing shareholders" than the pact Prison Realty currently has with

Fortress Investment Group


The Blackstone Group


Bank of America


. Under the plan involving Fortress, Blackstone and Bank of America, that group would purchase $315 million in securities and commit to buy an additional $35 million in securities in a newly configured concern that would be created through the merger of Prison Realty and the companies operating under the name

Corrections Corporation of America

. That plan was announced in late December. Pacific Life said it owns about 4.5 million shares of Prison Realty.




Human Genome Sciences


said they have agreed to a deal with

Vascular Genetics

to make pharmaceuticals that use novel genes to treat diseases. The pharmaceuticals would combine Vical's DNA delivery technology and novel genes in Human Genome's database, along with other Vascular Genetics products.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates are from First Call/Thomson Financial.)

Casella Waste Systems


warned investors that it expects to post third-quarter earnings between 11 cents and 13 cents a share, greatly missing the six-analyst estimate of 23 cents. Casella sees its fourth-quarter earnings at roughly 15 cents a share, also falling below the three-analyst estimate of 26 cents a share.



reported second-quarter earnings of 44 cents a share excluding charges, in line with the 15-analyst estimate but a penny lower than the year-ago earnings. Intuit, which makes personal finance software, said U.S. tax returns filed via the Web were up fivefold from last year and also said it was on track for 20% operating income growth over fiscal 1999.

Internet Capital Group


reported a fourth-quarter loss of 9 cents a share, compared with year-ago earnings of 2 cents. The stock was trading down before the open following remarks by the company that it sees losses in many quarters for the foreseeable future, and volatility in quarterly results based on e-commerce interests.

VA Linux


posted a second-quarter pro forma loss of 36 cents a share, wider than the four-analyst expected loss of 21 cents and the year ago loss of 26 cents. The company went public in December with a record-setting first-day percentage gain of almost 700%. Despite the increased loss, revenue rose more than sixfold to $20.2 million from $3.17 million, the company said.



reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.04 a share, in line with the 11-analyst estimate.

Offerings and stock actions

Credence Systems


set a 2.3 million-share secondary offering at $115 a share.

Credit Suisse First Boston

priced a 4.4 million-share offering for



at $14.



said it set a 2-for-1 stock split.

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

priced a 5.4 million-share IPO for

Hotel Reservations


at $16 a share.

First Boston and

Merrill Lynch

priced a 20 million-share IPO for



at $25 a share.


Sotheby's Holdings


is acting quickly to resolve potential criminal and civil exposure in regard to alleged price-fixing in art auctions, the


reported. Sotheby's is in settlement talks with the

Justice Department

and held a meeting last week with plaintiffs in civil cases who claim they were overcharged in commission because of the alleged conspiracy, the newspaper reported.

The Inside Wall Street column in

Business Week

, written by Gene Marcial, offers up bullish stories on

America Online


, whose stock for the most part has been under severe pressure since announcing its planned get-together with

Time Warner


last month, and another positive piece on

Source Information Management



Elsewhere, Marcial writes, citing an investment banker familiar with the situation, that



, which is being bought by



, is understood to be interested in buying a big stake in

SFX Entertainment



The Heard on the Street column in the


takes a look at the recent bond trading of


, which it said provided the spark for the bond market's recent turmoil. With the

Treasury Department

planning to sell fewer 30-year Treasury bonds going forward, and with the


raising interest rates, notable Pimco bond fund manager William Gross got an idea that proved to be quite profitable, the column said. Because of those above-mentioned factors, Gross' idea was that the long bond could rally dramatically, while prices for shorter-dated Treasuries and riskier corporate and mortgage-backed bonds could remain depressed, according to the column. In a series of giant trades devised by Gross, his $180 billion portfolio bought huge amounts of long-term Treasuries and sold off mortgage bonds, surprising traders who expected Treasuries to remain depressed and roiling the market, the column stated. The column said Gross' strategy scored $200 million in profits.

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