Thursday, August 01, 2002

Business Digest




Medco IPO withdrawn, but spinoff still on

        WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. - Drug giant Merck & Co., citing market conditions, has withdrawn the initial public offering for the pharmacy benefit management business it has been trying to spin off.

        Merck spokesman Chris Loder called the action a “formality” and said the company still plans to spin off Medco within 12 months, “subject to market conditions.”

        “This action has no bearing on the company's intention to create Medco as a separate, publicly traded company,” Mr. Loder said.

        The latest postponement of the IPO came amid news that Merck had padded Medco's revenues by $12 billion in recent years by counting prescription copayments made to pharmacies as Medco revenue.

Microsoft, AT&T join in strategic alliance

        SEATTLE - Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Wireless announced a strategic alliance Wednesday to begin offering new wireless services to business customers.

        The partnership aims to simplify communications between employers and employees, the companies said in a joint news release.

        In the past 18 months, Microsoft has forged partnerships with at least five major wireless carriers in the United States to carry a cellular phone or wireless device that runs Microsoft operating software.

Nvidia shares plummet after sales-drop report

        SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Shares of Nvidia Corp., which restated profit since 2000 amid a federal accounting inquiry, fell 32 percent after the computer-graphics chipmaker said second-quarter sales dropped from the previous three months.

        Nvidia dropped $5.15, to $11.07, as of 4 p.m. on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The decline erases all of Nvidia's gains last year, when it rose more than fourfold to become the best performer in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index. It's now the sixth-worst.

        Sales fell as low as $410 million, a 30 percent drop from $582.9 million in the first quarter, Nvidia said Tuesday. Demand is shifting to cheaper personal computers using low-priced graphics chips or Intel Corp. semiconductors with integrated graphics functions instead of Nvidia's products, analysts said.

OnStar unit can call for help after accident

        WASHINGTON - General Motors Corp. on Wednesday unveiled a new OnStar vehicle communications service that will determine within seconds of a crash how serious the impact was and automatically call for help.

        Crash sensors in the front and rear bumpers and just behind the driver's door can tell where the vehicle was hit and the speed and force of impact.

        Beginning in some vehicles next year, the information will be sent to an OnStar operator through a hands-free cellular phone connection. The operator can talk to the crash victims in the vehicle and conference in 911 dispatchers with all the information they need to quickly send emergency responders.

Ford may stop making Excursion after 2004

        DETROIT - Ford Motor Co. plans to discontinue its full-size Ford Excursion sport utility vehicle after the 2004 model year, according to news reports.

        The large SUV was introduced as a bigger competitor to the Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL in 1999.

Siemens restructuring to leave 900 jobless

        BERLIN - German electronics and engineering group Siemens AG said Wednesday it plans to cut 900 jobs in a restructuring of its Building Technologies unit that will see it dispose of a subsidiary of the business.

        The Zurich-based group, which concentrates on security, fire safety and air conditioning products, will cut the staff over the next three years from its 9,000 employees in Germany, according to a company statement.

       



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