Boeing Strike Averted; French Retailers Plan Rival for Wal-Mart

Also, Phelps-Dodge is accused of trying to thwart a merger in the copper industry and Microsoft's MSN Internet returns to Germany.
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An averted strike in the aerospace industry, roiling within the copper industry and more eastward expansion into the eurozone topped this weekend's news.

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

appears to have staved off a possible strike by machinists. The company and the union reached an agreement on a new three-year contract Saturday. If union members ratify the deal, they would see their pay go up 11% during the next three years, plus they would get a 10% signing bonus. The company also pledged not to lay off employees and replace them with subcontractors. For more on labor issues in the airline industry, see

Holly Hegeman's

recent

piece on the subject.

Copper producers

Cyprus Amax Minerals

(CYM)

and

Asarco

(AR) - Get Report

on Sunday accused rival

Phelps Dodge

(PD) - Get Report

of trying to foil their merger with its threat of a hostile takeover. The two targets say they would consider Phelps Dodge's offer only if it raises the deal to $3.3 billion, up from the $2.5 billion the company is now offering.

The West Coast saw one successful merger this weekend: San Jose-based

SJNB Financial

(SJNB)

will acquire

Saratoga Bancorp

(SRTB)

in a deal valued at $37 million,

Reuters

reports.

A pair of French retailers are planning a merger that would make them the world's second-largest retailer, behind Goliath

Wal-Mart

(WMT) - Get Report

, an industry source told

Reuters

. The companies,

Carrefour

and

Promodes

, are planning to hold a news conference Monday. Wal-Mart has been pushing into Europe in recent years, with the acquisition of two German retail chains since 1997 and the recent

purchase of the U.K.'s

Asda

.

The story of a boy who can see ghosts continued to win over moviegoers for the fourth week in a row, as

The Sixth Sense

topped the box office charts with $20.1 million in revenue. So far the film has grossed an estimated $138.8 million.

In the Papers

You've got Post!

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

will again offer its

MSN Internet

service in Europe during the next 12 to 18 months, Germany's

Welt am Sonntag

newspaper reports. The company abandoned the service last year in the face of fierce competition from

America Online

(AOL)

.

Meanwhile, media bigwig

Rupert Murdoch

is considering buying

Deutsche Telekom's

(DT) - Get Report

cable television network in Germany, the

Independent

in London reported Sunday. The newspaper said the deal would cost Murdoch's

News Corp.

(NWS) - Get Report

up to 10 billion pounds, or $15.86 billion.

Kellwood

(KWD)

has sold enough women's clothing to become the nation's fifth-largest publicly held apparel maker, but it's having a tougher time pushing its stock on Wall Street lately,

Barron's

reports. Possible factors include the company's 17 acquisitions within the past 15 years and its operational restructuring.

Direct marketer

Acxiom

(ACXM)

, which has built its reputation helping companies single out ideal spenders, is feeling the pinch from spendthrift competitors,

Barron's

reports. Analysts blame the plunge in the company's stock price on pricing pressure.

Four European airlines are eyeing

British Midland

, the second-biggest presence at London's Heathrow airport, the

Sunday Times

in London reports. The paper identifies the suitors as

Lufthansa

,

Virgin

(VIRGY)

,

Air France

and

KLM

(KLM)

.

Barron's

also features an interview with hedge-fund manager

Clifford W. Henry

, who founded New York-based

Worthington Growth

. His stock picks include

VISX

(VISX)

,

The Laser Center

(TLCV)

and

Laser Vision Centers

(LVCI)

, all in the laser eye surgery industry; drillers

Global Marine

(GLM)

,

Diamond Offshore

(DO) - Get Report

and

Grey Wolf

(GW)

;

Celestica

(CLS) - Get Report

,

Colorado Medtech

(CMED)

and

Integral Systems

(ISYS)

in the telephony sector; and private investigation firm

Kroll-O'Gara

(KROG)

, personal records provider

DBT Online

(DBT)

and utilities industry consultant

Navigant Consulting

(NCI) - Get Report

.

British life and pensions mutual

Friends Provident

denied a report in London's

Sunday Times

that

National Westminster Bank

was looking to buy it. The newspaper said NatWest offered to buy Friends Provident for 4.5 billion pounds, or $7.14 billion. But a Friends Provident spokesman told

Reuters

that it had not been approached.