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CIENA, TELLABS CALL OFF VOTES ON $7.1 BILLION MERGER

Votes by shareholders on a $7.1 billion merger between Ciena Corp. and Tellabs Inc. were called off Friday, just hours after AT&T Corp. said it was no longer interested in buying Ciena's telecommunications equipment.

AT&T's unexpected announcement raised doubts about the proposed merger and could strengthen the hand of Lucent Technologies Inc., a far larger equipment supplier spun off by AT&T two years ago.

Ciena makes devices that enable fiber optic lines to carry more data, and Tellabs sells switching equipment to route large amounts of data. New business from AT&T was considered critical to Ciena, which receives the bulk of its orders for telecommunications equipment from Sprint Corp. and WorldCom Inc.

AT&T informed Ciena of its decision Friday morning, hours before shareholders of both companies were to vote on the merger, which was announced in June. Ciena and Tellabs adjourned the meetings and rescheduled them for Sept. 9.

"We've got to do a lot of thinking and sorting and understanding," said Tellabs chief executive Mike Birk.

AMP rejects AlliedSignal offer

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- AMP Inc.'s board on Friday rejected as inadequate the $10 billion takeover offer by AlliedSignal Inc. and overhauled its top management.

AlliedSignal vowed to continue its pursuit of the maker of electronic connectors, and criticized AMP's choice of new leadership.

AMP named Robert Ripp, an ex-IBM executive who has been with AMP since 1994, as its new chairman and chief executive.

AMP chairman James E. Marley will retire and chief executive William J. Hudson will step down to become vice chairman of the board.

The board was unanimous in rejecting AlliedSignal's tender offer of $44.50 in cash per share for all AMP's outstanding shares. Its stock closed down $1 at $38 a share Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

In its recommendations to AMP shareholders, the board said the offer "does not reflect the inherent value of AMP as the world's largest supplier of electrical and electronic connectors." The board has set Oct. 15 for shareholders to decide on AlliedSignal's offer.

Fox hikes Super Bowl ad price 23%

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Fox television network is reportedly getting a hefty $1.6 million for a 30-second commercial on the 1999 Super Bowl, a 23 percent increase from this year's game on NBC.

Fox has been citing that price to executives who buy commercial time and appears to be getting it, ad buyer Bill Croasdale of Western International said Friday.

He estimated as much as 60 percent of the available commercial time on the Jan. 31 telecast of the NFL championship game has already been sold.

Network spokesman Vince Wladika declined comment on the ad sales effort.

If Fox can maintain the $1.6 million price average, it would be a 23 percent increase over the record $1.3 million that NBC got for the last Super Bowl. That price had been up 8.3 percent from the previous Super Bowl telecast.

The Super Bowl typically draws the biggest audience of the TV season and advertisers often use the telecast as a showcase for new ads.

Media executives said Fox has been able to get an unusually large increase in part because NBC set a new benchmark for ad time earlier this year when it charged as much as $1.7 million for commercials on the finale of the comedy series "Seinfeld."

That program attracted a Nielsen rating of 41.3 compared with a 44.5 rating for the 1998 Super Bowl telecast a few months earlier.

Buffalo stock index lower for week

Buffalo stocks fell this week, led by General Motors Corp., Moog Inc. and Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

The Buffalo Bloomberg Stock Index, an employee-weighted list of 57 companies with operations in the region, fell 1.96, or 1 percent, to 193.7. The index is up 1.96 percent so far this year.

General Motors fell 2 1 1/1 6 to end the week at 65 1/8 .

Elma-based Moog fell 3 5/1 6 to end the week at 29 1 3/1 6.

Shares of York, Pa.-based Bon-Ton Stores Inc. fell 1 to end the week at 11 1/8 .

This week, the Buffalo Bloomberg Stock Index underperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and the Nasdaq Composite Index.

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