BPAmoco PLC extended its deadline Friday for acquiring Atlantic Richfield Co., apparently trying to give a skeptical Federal Trade Commission more time to review the company's revised merger proposal.
The FTC had scheduled a meeting for Monday at which the agency had been widely expected to direct its staff to try to block the merger in federal court.
But Friday, the FTC postponed the meeting. A short time later, BP Amoco announced extension to Feb. 7 of its self-imposed deadline for the merger. The company said in a statement that it agreed "to extend the 20-day clock . . . in order to give the Federal Trade Commission time to consider internally whether they believe there is common ground to commence negotiations."
FTC officials would not comment on the merger. BP Amoco spokesman Tom Koch said the company had no comment beyond the one-paragraph statement.
While commissioners still could act on the merger at its meeting now rescheduled for next Wednesday, BP Amoco's decision to extend the 20-day clock suggested efforts were under way to try to avoid a lengthy court fight.
Lockheed cuts dividend in half
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Lockheed Martin Corp. slashed its dividend in half Friday, continuing a belt-tightening that already includes plans for 2,800 new job cuts in an attempt to reverse setbacks at its aerospace and aviation businesses.
Lockheed officials reiterated a warning first made last October that the bleak financial picture would continue into the new year, but projected gains in the years to come.
Cutting quarterly dividend payments from 22 cents a share to 11 cents, effective with the payout due March 31, is the latest in a series of measures aimed at improving the bottom line. Reducing the dividend frees up about $180 million, analysts said.
For the fourth quarter of 1999, Lockheed reported earnings of $293 million, or 76 cents a share, compared with $125 million, or 33 cents a share, in the same 1998 period.
ISP launches hostile bid for Dexter
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (AP) -- International Specialty Products Inc. is launching a hostile takeover bid for Dexter Corp., the nation's oldest publicly traded company after a previous bid worth nearly $1 billion was spurned.
ISP said Friday it plans to nominate 10 board members "who are committed to considering and pursuing ISP's offer or a superior proposal" when Dexter has its annual meeting in April.
Dexter, a specialty chemicals company, last month rejected a $45-per-share offer from ISP, which is headed by wealthy investor Samuel J. Heyman. The Dexter board called the ISP proposal too low. Dexter said it was reviewing Heyman's letter "and would respond in due course."
Dexter holds 71 percent of Life Technologies, which operates a plant on Grand Island, and Heyman owns most of the rest of the company. He has said he believes Dexter and Life Technologies would be better off apart.
Amazon.com to cut 150 workers
SEATTLE (AP) -- Amazon.com -- the biggest and one of the most celebrated retailers on the Internet, even though it has yet to make any money -- is laying off 150 people in its first-ever cutback.
The move is an internal reorganization and represents about 2 percent of Amazon's total work force of 7,500, Amazon.com spokesman Bill Curry said.