Nike Steps Up to the Plate as Reebok Withdraws From Olympics

Plus, alliance discussions between Boeing and BAE Systems, and happenings on the British telecom front.
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Poor

Reebok

(RBK)

just can't get a break. First

Sony

(SNE) - Get Report

takes liberties with the shoemaker's product-placement deal in

Jerry Maguire.

Now the Sydney Olympic organizers are accused of breaching Reebok's sponsorship agreement.

Reebok withdrew its multimillion sponsorship of the

2000 Sydney Games

last week, claiming the games' organizers struck deals with its rivals. Now

Nike

(NKE) - Get Report

will step up to the sponsorship plate, the

International Olympic Committee

announced Sunday.

Two centuries after the U.S. declared its independence from Great Britain, defense contractors are narrowing the gulf between the two regions.

Alliance discussions are underway between

Boeing

(BA) - Get Report

and the U.K.'s

BAE Systems

, the

Sunday Times

of London reported, citing unnamed sources.

In British M&A news this weekend,

Telewest Communications

and broadcast media company

Flextech

are said to be finalizing terms of a merger,

Reuters

reports. Separately, the

Sunday Times

reports that

British Telecommunications

(BTY)

has recently held talks with Spain's

Telefonica

.

U.K. supermarket group

Tesco

is said to be mulling a bid for retailer

Marks & Spencer

, the

Sunday Business

newspaper reports. And Dutch-Belgian banking group

Fortis

is seeking an alliance with the U.K.'s

Abbey National

, the

Mail on Sunday

reports.

Speaking of British Telecommunications, the

Sunday Telegraph

says the carrier is preparing a $1.6 billion white knight bid for Ireland's second-largest telecom,

Esat

(ESAT)

. Esat is said to be in talks with a number of parties following an unwanted approach from Nordic telecom group

Newtel

, formed by

Telia

and

Telenor

.

Still no ruling on the proposed merger of

Sprint

(FON)

and

MCI WorldCom

(WCOM)

, but

The Washington Post

provided more evidence this weekend that the government is taking a jaundiced view of the deal.

The Post

disclosed an Oct. 21

FCC

memo describing such consolidation as "intolerable." An agency representative told the newspaper that assessment was only preliminary.

Union workers in Canada on Sunday ended their occupation of the

Molson Breweries

plant in Barrie, Ontario, after reaching an agreement on their severance when the plant closes next year.

In the Papers

Gateway's

(GTW)

stock woes might, like allergies, be seasonal,

Barron's

reports. The magazine says

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, which supplies Pentium III 450-megahertz processors for Gateway's PCs, has had trouble meeting pre-Christmas demand.

Industry insiders are behind much of the recent buying spree in health-care stocks,

Barron's

reports. One company,

Humana

(HUM) - Get Report

, has seen insiders buy back more than $9.9 million worth of stock since August, the magazine says.

Barron's

also features an interview with Jamie Dinan and Dan Schwartz of New York hedge-fund firm

York Capital Management

. Their investment picks include

Rite Aid

(RAD) - Get Report

,

Global Light Telecom

(GBT) - Get Report

,

MRV Communications

(MRVC)

,

Comdisco

(CDO)

and

U.S. West

(USW)

. They're short

Qwest Communications

(QWST)

.

Fouled-up deliveries are the most common complaint from customers shopping online this e-holiday season,

The Washington Post

reports. The newspaper says companies are racing to keep up with demand, often by having their own executives pack orders.

TSC

documented Amazon's problems in lining up helper elves earlier

this week.

David Rheingold is a New York-based freelance writer. At the time of publication he was long Intel, although holdings can change at any time.