A Y2K Deadlines Tiptoes By; AOL Plans AOL-TV

Plus, big-bank news, Ford's new slogan (SUVs R Us?) and the S&P's disdain for Internet companies.
Author:
Publish date:

Those dreading the time bomb known as the Year 2000 computer bug may find some solace in another digital deadline that passed with little fanfare this weekend.

No widespread disruptions were reported when the clock governing navigational satellites was reset to zero at 8 p.m. EDT Saturday,

Reuters

reports. The satellites allow people to pinpoint their location through a network called the

Global Positioning System, or GPS. The GPS clocks started ticking on Jan. 6, 1980, with a digital odometer reading 0000, measuring the passage of each week.

In other weekend news,

Gordon Bethune

has a solution to the flight delays plaguing airports this summer: hand over the U.S. air traffic control system to the private sector.

Bethune, chairman of

Continental Airlines

(CAL) - Get Report

, told

ABC News'

"This Week" Sunday that federal budgeting is to blame for outdated air traffic equipment. U.S. airports have seen a 40% increase in flight delays from April to July this year,

Reuters

reports.

Bruce Willis

,

Sylvestor Stallone

and

Arnold Schwarzenegger

are used to saving the planet on the silver screen, but now

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

wants to succeed where they've failed: saving

Planet Hollywood

(PHL)

. The Saudi billionaire told

Reuters

on Sunday that he had invested $10 million in an attempt to rescue the ailing franchise. The investment raises the prince's stake in the chain to 20% from 16%.

America Online

(AOL)

may soon appear on a different type of line: CEO

Steve Case

told Germany's

Focus

magazine Sunday that AOL is planning a television channel called

AOL-TV

. The channel would feature email and chat-room services and would be transmitted via cable lines and not over the Internet.

Forget next year's Olympics in Sydney. Japan is poised to defeat France in a much bigger test of international might: who will be home to the world's largest bank.

Societe Generale

reaffirmed its opposition Sunday to a merger with

Banque Nationale de Paris

. French regulators will decide Tuesday what to make of BNP's recent three-way takeover bid, which won approval from

Banque Paribas

investors but not SG.

Japan's

Dai-Ichi Kangyo

,

Industrial Bank of Japan

and

Fuji Bank

want to create a banking group whose assets would top $1.3 trillion.

The

Federal Reserve

will likely raise short-term interest rates when it meets Tuesday afternoon. A

Reuters

poll found that 29 of 30 Wall Street bond dealers expect a quarter percentage point increase.

Versatility has outmuscled strength in

Ford's

(T) - Get Report

new advertising campaign. The company has adopted "No Boundaries" as the slogan for its emerging line of sport utility vehicles, replacing the long-running "Built Ford Tough,"

Reuters

reports.

Ford, meanwhile, has not decided yet whether to keep open its Bridgend plant in South Wales. The British government has offered a 30 million pounds ($48.5 million) incentive package, the U.K's

Sunday Business

newspaper reported. A Ford spokesman told

Reuters

the company would probably make a decision this fall.

In the Papers

Internet companies may be blazing, but they don't float the

S&P 500's

boat. That's according to

David Blitzer

, head of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index committee at

McGraw-Hill

. Blitzer tells

Barron's

that the S&P generally admits companies whose "float," or percentage of stock belonging to the public, tops 50%.

priceline.com

(PCLN)

,

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

and

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

don't make the grade;

Yahoo

(YHOO)

comes closest, with a float of 54%.

Likely entrants to the S&P this year,

Merrill Lynch

equity derivatives strategist

Diane Garnick

tells

Barron's

, include

Biogen

(BGEN)

,

Immunex

(IMNX)

,

Xilinx

(XLNX) - Get Report

and

Level 3 Communications

(LVLT)

. She also names

Telephone & Data Systems

(TDS) - Get Report

,

First Tennessee National

(FTN)

,

Old Kent Financial

(OK)

,

T. Rowe Price

(TROW) - Get Report

and

ServiceMaster

(SVM) - Get Report

as possible candidates.

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

may team up with Chinese airlines to build its new 717 jet, the

Sunday Times

in London reports. Boeing wants to make the 717 the dominant plane among airlines in China, the

Times

said.

Meanwhile, the head of

Boullion Aviation Services

predicts a slump in commercial jetliner orders during the next two years. CEO

Robert Genise

told

Reuters

the industry may get some help from Asia's improving economy. Boullion is a wholly owned subsidiary of

Deutsche Bank AG

.

Despite a fierce investor backlash,

Georgia-Pacific

(GP)

could bounce back from its recent takeover of packaging distributor

Unisource Worldwide

,

Barron's

reports. Georgia-Pacific, a forest and paper giant, saw its stock price plunge to $43 from $49 a day after it announced the buyout earlier this year. Georgia-Pacific CEO

Pete Correll

told

Barron's

he expects to recoup his cost of capital by cutting $75 million in cost savings from Unisource the first year and saving another $75 million in 2000 as a result of synergy.

Britain's

Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation

has rejected a 7 billion-pound ($11.3 billion) offer from

Carnival

(CCL) - Get Report

, the world's largest cruise line operator, London's

Financial Mail

reported Sunday. Carnival was said to be mainly interested in P&O's cruise business,

Princess

, the newspaper said.

Broker

Edward Jones

plans to open offices in Ireland as part of an effort to expand into Europe,

The Sunday Tribune

in Dublin reports. No dates have been announced.

The New York Times

reported Saturday that

Carolina Power & Light

(CPL) - Get Report

, North Carolina's second-largest utility, may soon buy

Florida Progress

(FPC)

for $5.3 billion. The newspaper, quoting unnamed sources, said a deal could be announced as early as Monday.

David Rheingold is a New York-based freelance writer. At the time of publication he had no positions in any of the securities mentioned, although holdings can change at any time.