Firstar to Buy Mercantile; Alleged PairGain Hoaxer Indicted

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Firstar

(FSR)

agreed to buy

Mercantile Bancorp

(MTL) - Get Report

in a stock swap valued at $10.6 billion, or $66 a share. According to the agreement, Mercantile shareholders will receive 2.09 Firstar shares for each share held. Firstar said the deal will be 8.5% accretive to 1999 earnings.

Gary Hoke of Raleigh, N.C., was indicted Friday on five counts of securities fraud for allegedly fabricating news that

PairGain

(PAIR)

had been acquired. Numerous investors bought shares on the speculation that resulted.

Hoke, a 25-year-old employee at PairGain, allegedly created a bogus

Bloomberg

news site which stated April 7 that the Tustin, Calif.-based networker was being bought by an Israeli company. He was arrested April 15 after an

FBI

investigation. Hoke has agreed to appear May 10 in a federal court in Los Angeles for arraignment, according to a

Justice Department

press release. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 50 years in federal prison and a $5 million fine.

According to the release, "the indictment lists five victims who purchased PairGain stock at the inflated price, including James Cramer, who is president of the New York money management firm

Cramer Berkowitz

and is co-founder of

TheStreet.com

, where he is a senior columnist." The indictment names four other victims: Kevin Kiley, Jack Kurtz, Sam Sok and Carol Weaver.

An attorney for Hoke declined to comment late Friday.

TheStreet.com

delved into the PairGain hoax in an

April 15 story.

--

Kevin Petrie

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from

First Call

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

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Cable Design Technologies

(CDT)

warned its third-quarter earnings would fall 5 cents to 7 cents a share below the six-analyst forecast of 35 cents. The company blamed the news on "an extremely slow February" and delayed programming. The company earned 34 cents in the year-ago period.

Emmis Communications

(EMMS) - Get Report

restated earnings for the first three quarters of fiscal 1999 and all of fiscal 1998, reducing 1999 results and raising 1998 results. The radio and TV broadcaster said it made the changes following meetings with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

about the registration of senior subordinated notes issued Feb. 12.

Indiana Energy

(IEI) - Get Report

reported second-quarter earnings of 94 cents a share, topping the five-analyst estimate of 81 cents and the year-ago 77 cents.

Offshore Logistics

(OLOG)

said it expects to record $4 million in fourth-quarter charges related to uncollectable receivables and revised employee benefits in the company's Gulf of Mexico operations. Excluding the charges, the company sees earnings falling within the range of analysts' expectations. The nine-analyst consensus calls for earnings of 13 cents a share vs. the year-ago 37 cents.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Edison International's

(EIX) - Get Report

Edison Mission Energy

unit agreed to acquire Ferrybridge and Fiddler's Ferry electric plants from

PowerGen

(PWG)

for $2 billion.

Offerings and stock actions

Internet brokerage house

TD Waterhouse Securities

, a unit of

Toronto Dominion Bank

(TD) - Get Report

, filed with regulators for a $1 billion IPO.

Miscellany

American Bancshares

(ABAN)

said its CEO and president, Gerald Anthony, resigned.

Iomega

(IOM)

said it will close its Milpitas and San Diego, Calif., plants as it consolidates some operations into its Roy, Utah, headquarters.