Hearst Buys San Francisco Chronicle; DLJ Cuts Range for Braun Consulting's IPO

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Amid the din of financial news on this summer Friday afternoon,

Hearst

, which publishes the

San Francisco Examiner

, said it purchased rival

San Francisco Chronicle

from the family that has owned it since its inception 134 years ago.

Hearst said it would seek a buyer for the

Examiner

, San Francisco's afternoon newspaper, but would combine the two papers if no buyer was found. The

Chronicle

said employees' jobs would be maintained under existing union contracts. The purchase price was not disclosed, though some estimates run as high as $1 billion.

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from First Call; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Food broker

Merkert

(MERK)

said its second-quarter operating income fell, on a drop in revenue, to $50.5 million, from $52.1 million a year ago. No year-ago figures were provided since the company went public in December.

Offerings and stock actions

Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette

lowered the expected price range for Internet services provider

Braun Consulting's

upcoming IPO. The company is expected to offer 4.6 million shares at a reduced range of $7 to $9, down from the original $10 to $12 range.

Meanwhile, software firm

Interactive Intelligence's

IPO has been postponed because of recent market conditions, according to

Merrill Lynch

.

Yeehaw! Round 'em up!

Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon

(STAR) - Get Report

announced that it will lasso in up to 10% of its additional outstanding stock, or approximately 3.5 million shares. The company has been rustling up a lot of outstanding shares in the past year, repurchasing close to 3.9 million shares since May 1998.

Webvan

, an online grocer which delivers items like live lobsters and wine, is hungry for money. The company filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

for an initial public offering of $345 million.

Goldman Sachs

,

DLJ

,

Merrill Lynch

and

BancBoston Robertson Stephens

will underwrite the offering.