Thursday, July 10, 2003

Business digest

From wire reports

Nike to buy Converse for $305 million

BOSTON - Nike Inc. announced an agreement Wednesday to buy Converse Inc., best known for its famed "Chuck Taylor All Star" sneakers that dominated the market from the 1920s to 1970s.

Nike would pay $305 million, plus the assumption of certain liabilities.

By the 1980s, Beaverton, Ore.-based Nike had overtaken Converse as the dominant basketball shoe, and Converse filed for bankruptcy in January 2001. Later that year, the North Reading-based company was bought by private investors who have tried to revive the brand.

ArvinMeritor starts Dana takeover bid

TROY, Mich. - ArvinMeritor Inc. on Wednesday began its unsolicited $2.2 billion tender offer for the shares of rival auto-parts maker Dana Corp.

ArvinMeritor is offering $15 a share in cash. Dana Corp. shares closed on the New York Stock Exchange at $15.92, down 28 cents, or 1.7 percent, indicating that investors are expecting a sweetened bid.

The offer is 25 percent above Dana's closing stock price on Monday, the last trading day before ArvinMeritor publicly said it would begin the tender offer.

Dana Corp. said its board will evaluate ArvinMeritor's offer within 10 business days after the tender offer begins.

Firm to pay $115M for Prime Retail Inc.

BALTIMORE - A New Jersey-based real estate company has agreed to buy financially troubled Prime Retail Inc., an outlet mall owner, for $115 million, the companies said.

Lightstone Group LLC would assume $523 million of Prime's debt in addition to what it pays shareholders for their stock, the companies said Tuesday.

Baltimore-based Prime is the nation's second-largest owner of outlet malls, including centers in Hagerstown, Queenstown and Perryville.

DaimlerChrysler van plant in Ga. on hold

ATLANTA - DaimlerChrysler AG has postponed plans for a van factory that would create 3,300 jobs in coastal Georgia, but state officials said they are confident it will get built - eventually.

Georgia officials had expected DaimlerChrysler's board of directors to meet Wednesday and approve the $754 million plant to be built in Pooler, 12 miles west of Savannah. It would manufacture Sprinter cargo vans.

"DaimlerChrysler will make the decision on the possible construction of a Sprinter factory in Savannah at a later point in time," said company spokesman Marc Binder in Stuttgart, Germany.

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