SBC Communications

(SBC)

is buying e-business solutions company

Sterling Commerce

(SE) - Get Report

for $44.25 a share, or $3.9 billion in cash, in an effort to establish itself in the business-to-business e-commerce market. Sterling closed Friday at 31 9/16.

Sotheby's

(BID) - Get Report

said yesterday that two of its top execs, Chairman A. Alfred Taubman and President and CEO Diana D. Brooks, have quit. Sotheby's and its main competitor,

Christie's

, are under a price-fixing probe by the

Justice Department

.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Deutsche Telekom

(DT) - Get Report

said it plans to sell its cable television units in five national regions by the end of March. The company also said today that it would sell 55% of its

North Rhine-Westphalia

cable network to U.S.-based

Callahan Associates

.

InfoCure

(INCX)

said it would establish a dental software and service division and hold an IPO for the business.

PracticeWorks.com

will concentrate on e-commerce and have a base of roughly 25,000 doctors.

Liberty Media

(LMG.A)

agreed to buy, in a private placement, 7.125 million Class B nonvoting shares of Canadian media company

Corus Entertainment

, representing a 19.9% stake in Corus.

Motorola

(MOT)

is buying

C-Port

for $430 million in stock.

The

European Commission

has decided to open a full investigation into the proposed get-together between

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

and

Sprint

(FON)

. The commission "has raised serious doubts as to the compatibility of the proposed merger between MCI WorldCom and Sprint mainly because of its impact on competition in the market for top level Internet connectivity." The commission said it expects to make a final decision by early July.

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

announced a strategic pact with

Novistar

to develop and deliver e-business products and services to the energy industry.

Reliant Energy

(REI) - Get Report

of Houston is buying 21 power plants from

Sithe Energies

for $2.1 billion. Sixteen of the facilities are located in Pennsylvania, four in New Jersey and one in Maryland. Sithe is 60% owned by

Vivendi

of France.

Sprint

(FON)

said it bought an additional 2.73 million shares of

EarthLink

(ELNK)

, an Internet service provider, for a total of $77 million, bringing its overall stake in EarthLink to 14.6%.

Stora Enso

, the Finnish-Swedish forestry titan, is buying

Consolidated Papers

(CDP)

for $4 billion. The companies said the combined entity will be the largest producer of paper and board by capacity world-wide, with total 1999 sales of $13.2 billion. The acquisition values the shares of Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.-based Consolidated Papers at $44 a share.

U.K.-based tour operator

Airtours

is buying

Travel Services International

(TRVL)

for $26 a share in cash, or $385 million.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(Earnings estimates from

First Call/Thomson Financial

; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.)

Computer Horizons

(CHRZ)

reported a fourth-quarter loss of three cents a share, wider than the four-analyst estimate and the year ago 42-cent profit.

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Report

said same-store sales increased 9%.

Limited

(LTD)

posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.31 a share, well ahead of the 22-analyst estimate of $1.18 and up from the year-ago 92 cents. The company's board also authorized a $200 million share repurchase program.

PSINet

(PSIX)

posted a fourth-quarter loss of 99 cents a share, narrower than the 16-analyst estimate of a $1.01 loss but wider than the year-ago 51-cent loss.

Scientific-Atlanta

(SFA)

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

Southwest Gas

(SWX) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 93 cents a share, beating the three-analyst estimate of 95 cents and up from the year-ago 82 cents.

Offerings and stock actions

BF Goodrich

(GR)

said it set up to a $300 million share repurchasing plan.

CTC Communications

(CPTL)

said it set a 3-for-2 stock split.

Nextel Communications

(NXTL)

said it set a 2-for-1 stock split. Nextel posted a fourth-quarter loss of 85 cents share, narrower than both the 18-analyst estimate of a 97-cent loss and the year-ago $1.43 loss.

Miscellany

Some oil ministers are likely to signal for an increase in output this week, reported

The Wall Street Journal

. According to the

Journal

,

OPEC

members have not reached an agreement on the timing or amount.

Attorneys in the

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

antitrust case are slated to give their closing arguments today in Washington. The

New York Times

on Monday reported that the odds were against a settlement, citing people close to the talks.

Texas Instruments

(TXN) - Get Report

introduced today what it said are the world's fastest and lowest-power digital signal processors. Texas Instruments said the new programmable DSPs will "push the Internet-era communications infrastructure to higher levels."

Unilever

(UL) - Get Report

announced a huge restructuring plan, including cutting 25,000 jobs. The consumer products giant posted 1999 net profits that were down 5% from 1998.

For analysis of the market's preopen tone and trends, see the

Wake-Up Call, now published separately.