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Federal Express Corp. today said it will buy Caliber System Inc. for $2.7 billion, strengthening its position as a worldwide package carrier and freight hauler.

Under the agreement, a new holding company, FDX Corp., will be created to operate Federal Express and Caliber and Caliber's package carrier, RPS Inc., the former Roadway Packaging Services.

Caliber shareholders will receive 0.8 shares of FDX Corp. stock for each Caliber share. The transaction is expected to close in early 1998 and will be tax free.

Caliber will close its headquarters in Akron, Ohio, and the 150 employees there will be offered positions with FDX. FDX will keep its headquarters in Memphis.

Intel, DEC eye $1.5 billion chip deal

NEW YORK (AP) -- Intel Corp. may pay $1.5 billion to buy the rights to a computer chip it has been accused of stealing, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

Digital Equipment Corp. is negotiating the sale of its flagship Alpha chip to Intel, the Journal said. Digital had filed a patent lawsuit claiming Intel stole the Alpha chip's technology in order to build its Pentium line of processors.

Despite its strong technical reviews, Alpha has failed to make a place for itself in the corporate computer market. A sale would give Digital a profitable way to rid itself of the chip and help Intel avoid a protracted lawsuit.

Ahmanson buys Coast Savings

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- H.F. Ahmanson & Co. announced today it is buying Coast Savings Financial Inc. in a $900 million stock deal creating the second-largest thrift in the nation.

The merger of Ahmanson, parent of Home Savings of America, and Coast, the Los Angeles-based parent of Coast Federal Bank, also would create the third-largest financial institution based in California, with $56.6 billion in assets.

The deal had been rumored for months and comes after Ahmanson's failed hostile bid to acquire Great Western Financial Corp. of Chatsworth.

WorldCom attacks MCI's poison pill

WILMINGTON, Del. (Bloomberg) -- WorldCom Inc. asked a Delaware court to strike down MCI Communications Corp.'s so-called poison pill takeover defense that could kill the telecommunication company's $33.88 billion offer for MCI.

WorldCom also is asking Delaware's Chancery Court to stop MCI from paying a $450 million break-up fee to British Telecommunications Plc if MCI pulls out from its agreement to be bought by BT.

The suit came on the heels of WorldCom's surprise offer, the largest ever in the U.S., to acquire MCI for stock and assumed debt. WorldCom's bid of $41.50 a share challenges BT's earlier bid of $32.73.

Barnes & Noble denies takeover talk

NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Barnes & Noble Inc. has denied speculation that it's concerned it may be acquired by rival Borders Group Inc.

The speculation "is totally inaccurate and completely without merit," said Lisa Herling, spokeswoman of the largest book retailer in the U.S.

Business Week magazine said in its most recent edition that Barnes & Noble management is concerned Borders may make a takeover bid to "become No. 1," citing an unidentified New York hedge fund manager.

Ford workers strike in Britain

LONDON (AP) -- Workers protesting their pay at Ford Motor Co. staged a second wildcat strike today, forcing the automaker to shut down an assembly line and lose the production of hundreds of Fiesta cars.

Ford said it would forgo production of about 600 cars after closing the day-shift assembly line at its Dagenham factory in Essex, east of London.

In other business news

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. said it locked out 275 workers at its bacon plant in Hamilton, Ont., as part of a strategy to reduce its labor costs to U.S. levels. Maple Leaf is transferring bacon production to other plants went on strike Saturday.

The 673 members of the United Steelworkers of America continued their strike against Crucible Specialty Metals in Geddes, N.Y. over the weekend after rejecting a new contract on Friday.

The division of Federated Department Stores Inc. that runs Lazarus, Rich's and Goldsmith's will pull the plug on electronics at its stores by Christmas, due to tough competition in the sector.

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