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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

ADELPHIA WILL LET COMCAST, TIME WARNER MAKE JOINT BID

Adelphia Communications Corp. has signed an agreement with Time Warner and Comcast Corp. that allows them to make a joint bid for its assets, Adelphia spokesman Paul Jacobson said.

Comcast, the world's largest cable-TV operator, and New York-based Time Warner last month said they were considering making a bid together.

Adelphia plans to sell its assets in seven regional cable groups averaging about 750,000 subscribers each. The company has about 5.3 million customers.

Meanwhile, prosecutors told a federal judge Tuesday they hope to retry former Adelphia Communications executive Michael Rigas on securities fraud charges, but are dropping bank fraud charges against him. Rigas' trial earlier this year ended in a jury deadlock. He was on trial here with his father, former Adelphia Chairman John Rigas, and his brother, former Chief Financial Officer Timothy Rigas, who were both convicted for their roles in an accounting fraud at Adelphia. Their sentencing was set for Jan. 5, pending the judge's ruling on Tuesday requests by their lawyers to throw out the guilty verdicts or grant new trials.

U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand said he will rule later on those motions, and on whether to dismiss the securities fraud charges against Michael Rigas, as his lawyer requested.

"I'm going to reserve decision on these motions," Judge Sand said. "There are things which I have not heard before that I want to give further thought and study to."

-- Bloomberg News

9,200 CAN RETIRE EARLY

PLANO, TEXAS (AP) -- Electronic Data Systems Corp. said Tuesday it would offer early retirement incentives to 9,200 U.S. workers, or 17.4 percent of its domestic work force, and expects to take a $150 million charge in the fourth quarter.

EDS calculated the charge by assuming that half the eligible workers will accept the retirement offer. The company said it expected that client business would require filling fewer than half the openings created by retirements. If that is so, the company said, it could save about $150 million next year and about $250 million a year starting in 2006.

EDS is struggling to recover from money-losing contracts and a downturn in technology spending. On Monday, the company delayed filing its third-quarter financial results, citing a disagreement with outside auditors over writing down the value of assets used in a big contract to build an Intranet system for the Navy and Marine Corps.

ATA AIRLINES FILES BANKRUPTCY

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- ATA Airlines, the nation's 10th-largest carrier, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday and sold off airport slots and other assets to AirTran Airways for $87.6 million, to become the latest U.S. airline tripped up by rising fuel costs and fare wars.

Orlando, Fla.-based AirTran Holdings will assume ATA's flight operations, gate leases and routes at Chicago Midway Airport and arrival and departure slots at New York's LaGuardia Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. The deal is subject to approvals by the bankruptcy court and other entities and is expected to take effect by early next year, ATA officials said.

ATA's announcement came amid speculation that Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest airline, would win $1 billion in concessions from its pilots and avoid bankruptcy. The airline is expected to decide by Wednesday whether to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

KB TOYS SETS STORE CLOSINGS

PITTSFIELD, MASS. (AP) -- KB Toys, the toy store chain which sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, announced Tuesday that it will close another 148 to 238 stores by January, 2005.

The KB Toy Works store in Cheektowaga, N.Y., in the Consumer Square plaza at 3081 Union Road, is among the stores being closed.

The latest round of cuts will leave the Pittsfield-based chain of mall-based toy stores with less than half of the 1,231 stores it had at the beginning of the year.

The 80-year-old chain has already closed 427 stores over the past eight months and cut 3,400 jobs. The closings will leave the chain with about 600 stores and 8,000 employees. "These store closings represent a significant element of KB Toys plan of reorganization and will not hinder our holiday operations," said Michael L. Glazer, president and CEO.

KB also sold its retail Internet operation to eToys Direct Inc.

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