Midday Movers: Research in Motion Motoring Higher and Conexant Flopping After Downgrade

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Research in Motion (RIMM) jumped 11 15/16, or 8.6%, to 150 7/8 after it said it struck a supply deal with America Online (AOL) and Compaq (CPQ) for its interactive pagers. America Online, which announced other deals today as well, was gaining 1 to 60 5/8, while Compaq, which said it has cut prices on its DeskPro PCs by up to 16%, fell 3/4 to 25 1/4.

Separately,

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

and America Online said AOL's

Instant Messenger

will be offered on Nokia mobile phones. Nokia dropped 4 7/8 to 200.

For more on today's wave of

wireless deals that hit the market today, check out the coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Online auctioneering giant

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

could make a $1.6 billion bid to acquire

Sotheby's

(BID) - Get Report

, London's

Independent on Sunday

reported. Citing unnamed industry sources, the newspaper reported that five-year-old eBay was said to be interested in buying 256-year-old Sotheby's. The

U.S. Justice Department

has been investigating price-fixing allegations involving Sotheby's and rival

Christie's

. Also, the two auction houses face dozens of civil lawsuits accusing them of collusion.Last week, two key execs at Sotheby's resigned. Today, eBay was down 4 5/16 to 146 3/4 while Sotheby's inched up 7/8 to 20 3/8.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Dexter

(DEX) - Get Report

rose 4 11/16, or 12.5%, to 42 1/8 after it said it had decided to explore strategic alternatives and would allow suitors to look at confidential data. Dexter is the target of a $930 million unsolicited bid from

International Specialty Products

(ISP)

.

Ericsson

(ERICY)

,

Volvo

(VOLVY)

and telecom operator

Telia

said they are forming a joint firm, called

WirelessCar

, to deliver mobile Web services to the automotive industry. Ericsson lost 2 to 95 5/8 while Volvo was unchanged at 23 1/2.

Getty Images

(GETY)

gained 11/16 to 50 1/16 after it said it agreed to buy its competitor, Visual Communications, from Britain-based

United News & Media

in a cash deal valued at $220 million. Getty said that the purchase would bring its collection to a total of more than 70 million images and 27,000 hours of footage.

Qualcomm

(QCOM) - Get Report

rose 3 1/2 to 137 1/4 and

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

moved down 2 15/16 to 88 3/8 after the companies said they formed a wireless multimedia device pact.

Separately, Microsoft and

Software AG

said they would team up to link the Windows operating system to non-Windows systems.

NiSource

(NI) - Get Report

is buying

Columbia Energy

(CG) - Get Report

for $6 billion. NiSource will also assume $2.5 billion in Columbia debt. Upon completion of the deal, Columbia and NiSource will become wholly owned divisions of a new holding company.

Under the terms of the deal, Columbia shareholders may receive $70 a share in cash for each share of Columbia they own, plus $2.60 in a zero coupon debt security with a forward equity contract, called SAILS. Columbia shareholders also have the option to receive, in lieu of cash and SAILS, new holding company stock for up to 30% of outstanding Columbia shares.

Under the common stock option, each Columbia share will be exchanged for $74 a share in new holding company stock, subject to a collar. If the average NiSource share price during the 30 days preceding the closing of the deal is greater than $16.50, Columbia shareholders will receive shares of new holding company stock valued at $74 for each Columbia share.

However, if the average NiSource share price during the 30 days prior to closing of the transaction is $16.50 or below, Columbia shareholders will receive 4.4848 shares of new holding company stock for each Columbia share. NiSource fell 1 15/16, or 12.5%, to 13 5/8 while Columbia Energy gained 2 9/16 to 59 5/8.

For more on this

story, check out the coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

.

NetIQ

(NTIQ)

lost 4 5/8, or 6.3%, to 68 7/8 and

Mission Critical

(MCSW)

rose 1/2 to 62 3/4 after the companies said they will merge in a stock swap. Mission Critical shareholders will get 0.9413 shares of NetIQ per share.

For more on the

merger, check out the coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Oracle

(ORCL) - Get Report

announced a "second major industry exchange."

Last week,

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

,

Ford

(F) - Get Report

and

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

said they planned to combine their online buying efforts for suppliers in a single Net portal. Ford and GM said as part of their combo, Ford would swap half of its stake in Oracle's

Oracle Exchange

unit for half of GM's stake in

Commerce One

(CMRC)

.

Salomon Smith Barney

raised its price target on Oracle to 85 from 50.

Separately,

Sears

(S) - Get Report

, Oracle and

Carrefour

said they have entered an online procurement deal. Oracle lost 1 1/8 to 69 7/16, Ford lost 1/4 to 42 11/16, GM gained 13/16 and Commerce One climbed 6 31/32 to 220 1/32.

Britain's

PowerGen

(PWG)

lost 1 to 27 1/2 after it agreed to acquire Kentucky-based

LG&E Energy

(LGE)

for $3.2 billion. PowerGen is offering $24.85 a share and expects the deal to be complete by early 2001.LG&E lifted 6 1/8, or 38.9%, to 21 7/8.

Quintus

(QNTS)

shed 9 1/4, or 19.2%, to 39 after it said it is acquiring

Mustang.com

(MSTG)

in a stock swap valued at $290 million. Mustang.com moved up 1 15/16, or 7.5%, to 27 15/16.

3Com

(COMS)

lost 1 1/4 to 79 7/16 after it and

Samsung

said they will offer high-speed wireless networks

. Lehman Brothers

raised its rating on 3Com to outperform from neutral.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.

)

DaimlerChrysler

(DCX)

gained 1 1/4 to 64 3/4 after it posted fourth-quarter operating profit of $2.4 billion. Adjusted for onetime effects, the company's operating profit was $2.7 billion. Fourth-quarter net income came in at $1.1 billion and on an adjusted basis $1.6 billion. Fourth-quarter revenues totaled $41.7 billion.

Offerings and stock actions

Clorox

(CLX) - Get Report

climbed 1 1/2 to 38 13/16 after it said it will repurchase up to 2 million shares during the fiscal year ended June.

EchoStar Communications

(DISH) - Get Report

rose 4 3/16 to 113 11/16 after it approved a 2-for-1 stock split.

Analyst actions

Credit Suisse First Boston

initiated coverage of

Alamosa PCS

(APCS)

with a buy rating. Alamosa PCS declined 3/16 to 28 13/16.

Merrill Lynch

raised

Alstom

(ALS)

to near-term accumulate from neutral. Alstom added 1/4 to 22 5/8.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

lifted

American International Group

(AIG) - Get Report

to strong buy from outperform. American International Group bounced 3 11/16 to 87 5/16.

PaineWebber

upped its fiscal 2000 earnings estimates on

Anheuser-Busch

(BUD) - Get Report

to $3.30 a share from $3.26 and raised its fiscal 2001 estimates $3.68 a share from $3.64. Anheuser-Busch lifted 15/16 to 60 15/16.

SG Cowen

cut

Conexant

(CNXT) - Get Report

to buy from strong buy. Conexant plummeted 18, or 16.3%, to 96.

PaineWebber started coverage of

Digital Lightwave

(DIGL)

as attractive. Digital Lightwave shed 2 1/2 to 87 1/4.

Merrill Lynch initiated coverage of

Dobson Communications

(DCEL)

with an intermediate-term accumulate rating and a long-term buy rating. Dobson Communications tacked on 7/16 to 22 1/8.

ING Barings

started

Hispanic Broadcasting

(HBCCA)

as a buy. Hispanic Broadcasting advanced 2 3/16 to 88 7/16.

Merrill Lynch upped its long-term rating on

ICG

(ICGX)

to buy from accumulate and raised its price target to 42 from 35. ICG stumbled 2 1/16, or 6.6%, to 28 7/8.

CSFB upgraded

Informatica

(INFA)

to strong buy from buy. Informatica jumped 15 3/16, or 10.5%, to 159 3/16.

CSFB reinstated coverage of

King Pharmaceuticals

(KING)

with a buy rating. King Pharmaceuticals declined 1/2 to 50 1/4.

Morgan Stanley upgraded

MBNA

(KRB)

to strong buy from outperform. MBNA edged up 13/16 to 22 3/16.

J.P. Morgan

started coverage of

Maxim Pharmaceuticals

(MMP) - Get Report

at a buy. Maxim Pharmaceuticals slipped 2 to 70 1/2.

Banc of America

raised its rating on

Pacific Sunwear of California

(PSUN)

to strong buy from buy and set a price target of 37. Pacific Sunwear mounted 2 1/16, or 9.4%, to 23 15/16.

Lehman Brothers

started

Quantum Effect

(QEDI)

at outperform and set a price target of 150. Quantum Effect skidded 12 3/16, or 11.3%, to 95 1/16.

Merrill cut

Sara Lee

(SLE)

to near-term accumulate from buy. Sara Lee moved up 3/16 to 15 1/16.

Bear Stearns

raised

Schering-Plough

(SGP)

to buy from neutral. Schering-Plough declined 15/16 to 34 1/16.

Morgan Stanley raised

Charles Schwab

(SCH)

to outperform from neutral and set a price target of 49. Charles Schwab added 3/8 to 38 1/4.

CSFB initiated coverage of

SkillSoft

(SKIL)

with a strong buy rating. SkillSoft gained 1 3/8, or 8.8%, to 17.

CSFB initiated coverage of

Telaxis Communications

(TLXS)

with a buy rating. Telaxis Communications shed 1 11/16 to 74 1/8.

Goldman Sachs

initiated coverage of

Turnstone Systems

(TSTN)

with a market outperform rating. Turnstone Systems bounced 4 1/2 to 165.

Salomon Smith Barney

upped its price target on

Williams Communications Group

(WCG) - Get Report

to 70 from 46. Williams Communications advanced 2 7/16, or 6.2%, to 41 1/2.

Miscellany

In an unexpected announcement,

Citigroup

(C) - Get Report

said that

John Reed

, chairman and co-CEO of the financial services powerhouse, has told the board he is retiring effective at the company's annual shareholders meeting on April 18th.

Sandy Weill

will become chairman and sole CEO of Citigroup, effective at the meeting. Also, Weill has told the board, regarding his plans for retirement, that he intends to work with a committee of the board on a plan of succession, with the goal of coming up with a successor within two years. Citigroup mounted 2 1/8 to 50 1/8.

For more on this

story, check out the coverage from the

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Conseco

(CNC) - Get Report

fell 3/16 to 14 7/16 after it named Thomas Kilian president and COO.

Excite@Home

(ATHM) - Get Report

and

Dow Jones

(DJ)

named Don Hutchinson as CEO of Work.com. Excite@Home slipped 1/2 to 33 7/16, while Dow Jones slid 1/16 to 58 1/16.

Journal Register

(JRC)

rose 1/8 to 12 after it said it is selling its Illinois, Missouri and Ohio newspaper assets.

Midwest Express Airlines'

pilots ratified a five-year contract with the airline, which is based in Milwaukee. The airline is a unit of

Midwest Express Holdings

(MEH)

. Midwest Express was unchanged at 24 1/16.

The

Securities and Exchange Commission

has notified 52 companies audited by

PriceWaterhouseCoopers

that conflicts of interest involving firm employees' personal investments in the companies could affect the integrity of their financial statements

The Wall Street Journal

reported, citing people at the auditing firm. The list of companies notified included

Lucent Technologies

(LU)

and Compaq. Compaq announced last week it was switching auditors. Lucent fell 1 11/16 to 57 9/16.

The Heard on the Street column in the

Journal

says a top rule-making panel at the

Financial Accounting Standards Board

is considering whether the rules should be changed to restrict Internet businesses from including the entire value of product sales or services they arrange between suppliers and buyers online in their revenue figures. For many dot-com companies, such revenue is an important part of their financial health at a time when they have no profits to show, according to the story.