Stocks to Watch: VeriSign to Buy Network Solutions

eBay says it will invest in Autotrader.com to develop an online auto auction.
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VeriSign

(VRSN) - Get Report

said it has agreed to acquire

Network Solutions

(NSOL)

in a stock deal valued at roughly $21 billion. VeriSign said it would issue 2.15 shares for each share of Network Solution. VeriSign said it expects to complete the deal in the third quarter of fiscal 2000. According to the terms, Jim Rutt would stay on as Network Solutions CEO and report to VeriSign's president and CEO Stratton Sclavos. In premarket activity, VeriSign was trading at 220, off from Monday's closing price of 247 7/16, while Network Solutions was up at 438 from Monday's closing price of 360 5/8.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Charles Schwab

(SCH)

and

Barclays

said they have entered a joint venture to set up an automated foreign exchange. The companies said they expect the facility to be up and running by the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000.

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

said it would make an investment in

Autotrader.com

to develop an online auto auction.

Entrust

(ENTU)

is expected to announce today a deal with

Ariba

(ARBA)

that calls for Entrust to provide security software to Ariba's B2B customers,

Dow Jones Newswires

reported.

Hitachi

said that it set standards with

Lucent

(LU)

and France-based

Alcatel

(ALA)

for fiber-optic transceivers to make future products and devices compatible.

SAP

(SAP) - Get Report

and

BackWeb Technologies

(BWEB)

said that they have agreed to a pact that calls for SAP to use BackWeb's Polite push technology on its e-commerce Web site,

mySAP.com

. According to the companies, the Polite push product allows companies to deliver multimedia packages without interfering with customers' access.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

HealthSouth

(HRC) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 16 cents a share, in line with the 12-analyst estimate but down from the year-ago 27 cents.

priceline.com

(PCLN)

was trading at 95 in premarket activity, up from yesterday's closing price of 90 3/16, after Chairman and CEO Richard Braddock said first-quarter revenue growth would beat earlier analysts' estimates of 30%.

Procter & Gamble

(PG) - Get Report

warned investors that it would post third-quarter earnings 10% to 11% below the year-ago 72-cent report. The company blamed their earnings shortfall on the higher cost of pulp and petroleum-based materials. The 13-analyst estimate sees Procter & Gamble reporting third-quarter earnings of 78 cents a share.

Offerings and stock actions

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

priced a 4.35 million-ADR IPO for Japanese email provider

Crayfish

(CRFH)

at $24.50 an ADR, above the expected range of $22 to $24.

Goldman Sachs

priced a 10 million-share IPO for

Net2000 Communications

(NTKK)

at $20 a share, at the top end of the $18-to-$20 range. Net2000 provides broadband telecom services to businesses in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states.

Waddell & Reed

(WDR) - Get Report

set a 3-for-2 stock split.

Vitria Technology

(VITR)

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

Miscellany

Mastech

(MAST)

said it would convert itself into a holding company. Mastech said the company would consist of five existing and four new divisions, which would concentrate on e-services.

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