There is a group out there clearly desperate to offload a bunch of Sybase Inc shares judging by the number of far-fetched rumours swirling around the company – but why should you take suggestions that IBM Corp or Sun Microsystems Inc are cooking up a deal for the company with a whole bushel of salt? […]
There is a group out there clearly desperate to offload a bunch of Sybase Inc shares judging by the number of far-fetched rumours swirling around the company – but why should you take suggestions that IBM Corp or Sun Microsystems Inc are cooking up a deal for the company with a whole bushel of salt? Apart from the fact that they make very little sense, IBM’s original bid for Lotus Development Corp raised eyebrows all over the place because it was hostile, and it is just not done to make a hostile bid for a software company since all the disaffected assets can simply walk; that means that if anyone were cooking up a bid, it would have to be a negotiated one, in which case all the key insiders would know all about it – and last month, reports the Wall Street Journal, several executives filed papers indicating they plan to sell up to 42,000 shares, including chief financial officer Kenneth Goldman, with 12,000 shares, executive vice-president Mitchell Kertzman with 25,000 and vice-president and general counsel Laurie Keating with 5,000 – and Securities & Exchange Commission rules prohibit insiders at companies in the midst of material merger or acquisition talks to buy or sell their shares.
GTE Corp, as expected, signed a definitive agreement to join Walt Disney Co and the three Bells, Ameritech Corp, BellSouth Corp and SBC Communications Inc as an equal partner in their $500m entertainment venture: with GTE’s involvement, the venture boosts its reach to 68m access lines from 50m access lines in 33 states, and GTE, with its extensive local telephone interests, brings the potentially lucrative markets of Los Angeles, Tampa-St Petersburg, Dallas and other Sunbelt cities, and also gives the venture a presence in the Northwest, Southwest and Southeast.
Roland Corp, Los Angeles maker of electronic musical instruments, is to use Iomega Corp’s Jaz and Zip removable drives in many of its digital audio and music products.
The Microsoft Network will be available to users of Apple Computer Inc ‘s Macintosh system about a year after the launch on August 24, Microsoft Corp’s Bill Miller, director of marketing and business development for the Microsoft Network told Reuter; he also said the service plans to offer a new, fixed subscription rate beginning next year to users who get their direct access to it via TCP/IP networks.
Summer madness really has gripped markets on both sides of the Atlantic, and shares in MAID Plc were up another 60 pence at 228 pence by lunchtime yesterday on the back of it signing up as an information provider on the Microsoft Network.
Although the shares hit a high of $74.75 on their opening day, they faded towards the close to hit $58.25, and so Netscape Communications Corp failed to set the record for the biggest gain for an initial public offering, its 108% being bested by Home Shopping Network Inc with 137% and Tivoli Systems Inc with 120%; Netscape’s shares continued to fade yesterday as investors began to realise that there really isn’t very much there there yet, and were trading at $53.875 when we closed last night, and even at that price, the valuation is $2,050m.
MCI Communications Corp confirms that British Telecommunications Plc is in talks that may lead to it taking a stake in MCI’s newly-formed on-line venture with News Corp Ltd.
Telenet Vlaanderen, the ambitious telecommunications venture proposed by Belgium’s Flanders region, is bound to become a financial catastrophe, US consultants Mercer Management were quoted as saying in a report: according to Financieel Economische Tijd the report says technological problems and the high cost of such a new network, which aims to compete with Belgacom NV, were being terribly underestimated, and that the profit potential of operators trying to mussle in on the turf of current state monopolies in Europe was being seriously overestimated; Telenet Vlaanderen calls for a $1,800m investment to turn Flanders’ one-way cable television network into a two-way telephone and multimedia network by No
vember 1996; it is a partnership between the Flemish regional government and private groups including US West Inc, which has an option on a 25% stake in the effort.
Makes sense: BellSouth Corp’s Atlanta-based BellSouth Telecommunications Inc says it will change its brand identification to BellSouth from Southern Bell and South Central Bell, so as to give customers one name to remember in an increasingly competitive telecommunications marketplace: it does not say how much the switch will cost when it starts using the new identity on building signs, vehicles and pay phones starting from the autumn.
The Daily Mail has been the most successful London daily newspaper in refocusing and rebuilding itself to appeal particularly to women over the past 20 years, so it is appropriate that a Daily Mail alumna, British-born Anthea Disney, wants to do the same for the Internet: MCI Communications Corp and News Corp Pty Ltd are aiming to overthrow the Internet as a bastion of young, male interests by offering services aimed at bringing millions of women on-line – A specific objective is to overturn the existing audience completely, said the editoress in chief of the new on-line service being launched by the two companies – Everyone says the Internet is young and male – it is predominantly, but that is changing, she said, and she plans to bring fashion, cooking and human interest stories on-line – I see no reason why we can’t go out to the millions of average people who take one look at a computer and say ‘I dont know how to do this’ – we are going to make it very easy to do this, she said, adding that the plan is to recreate the diversity of consumer interest materials accessible at a supermarket checkout.
Under the UK government’s proposals for digital television, there will be guaranteed capacity for the simulcasting of existing terrestrial services, and existing national television broadcasters, the British Broadcasting Corp, the Independent TeleVision companies and Channel 4 – will all be offered guaranteed access to digital frequencies under the plan; the BBC warned that the role accorded to the multiplex-holder, or frequency licensee, needed to be carefully thought through.
Sony Corp’s first quarter profits – numbers in page seven – up 91% benefitted from improved profitability in its entertainment business, but its mainstay audio-visual division stayed in the doldrums because of the high yen, analysts commented.
There are still about nine not yet completed, but Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois-based Platinum Technology Inc says it has now completed its acquisition of Answer Systems Inc, for about $38m in new shares; Answer will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary under the name of Platinum Laboratory in San Jose,
Qualcomm Inc has now won Toshiba Corp for a multi-million dollar royalty-bearing licence to the San Diego company’s Code Division Multiple Access cellular technology.
Japanese and US specialists from organisations that set technical standards will meet next month in an effort to resolve the dispute over Japan’s proposals on software approvals: the September 20 and 21 meetings aim to resolve differences over the software quality assurance system planned by the Japan Accreditation Board, which has been attacked by US software developers as a potential trade barrier to Japan’s fast-growing software market (CI No 2,702); Japan will delay launching the accreditation programme until the current disagreement with the US and other international information industry associations is resolved, the executive dirrector of the board said.
Tulip Computers NV, Den Bosch, Netherlands, has decided discretion is the better part of valour and has postponed its planned entry into the US market after a key Dutch government grant was put on hold: the government needs more time to study the project, Tulip’s chairman Franz Hetzenauer told Reuters but even without the grant, it does plan to proceed – We want to be a global player by 2000, Hetzenauer said, addi
ng that the pitch remains in Europe; under terms of the state grant, Tulip will own a 20% stake in a specially formed US company, with the rest held by a foundation grouping Dutch venture capitalists, and administered by the government; separately, the company said it saw no cause to adjust its 1995 profit forecast, although margins in the computer sector were shrinking and the strong guilder was a handicap.
AT&T Corp’s McCaw Cellular Communications Inc announced that it is starting to build a $450m Time Division Multiple Aaccess digital mobile phone sytem that will ultimately be able to reach more than 80% of the US market, and the big beneficiaries are AT&T itself and L M Ericsson Telefon AB; the share of equipment from AT&T and Ericsson depends on contract negotiations.
The British government-funded Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council has given Salford University a ú334,000 grant to set up a National Centre for Immersive Environments: the centre is designed to establish both academic and commercial application; Division Group Plc, Silicon Graphics Inc and Intelligent Systems Solutions Ltd will all do research at the centre.
The Dallas-based computer retailer CompUSA Inc says early orders for Windows95 have exceeded expectations and it sees the product boosting business at its stores: We’re selling thousands of pre-orders a week, said Jim Halpin, president and chief executive, adding that it should have a very positive effect on CompUSA’s business, saying it expects to sell tens of thousands of copies of the software.