Last-minute bid made for UPIAn investor has made a...

NEWSWATCH ON BUSINESS

June 12, 1992

Last-minute bid made for UPI

An investor has made a last-minute offer to keep United Press International afloat for 10 days while he decides whether to bid for the news service.

UPI executives said yesterday's offer from Leon Charney, a lawyer specializing in real estate, banking and finance, would keep the 85-year-old company from going out of business at midnight tonight.

The agreement, which developed just a day after a proposed deal with religious broadcaster Pat Robertson fell through, commits Mr. Charney to providing $180,000 in non-refundable operating money to keep UPI going until June 22.

Mr. Charney and UPI President and Chief Executive Officer Pieter VanBennekom met in Mr. Charney's Manhattan office this morning.

Mr. Charney said they would discuss the deal and he hoped to have an announcement by early afternoon.

Any agreement would be subject to the approval of federal bankruptcy court and would need the endorsement of creditors owed some $60 million.

Director resigns:

Elizabeth K. Nitze, executive director of Maryland's World Trade Center Institute and the World Trade Center in Baltimore, has resigned to move with her husband to New Jersey.

The institute's chairman, Harold Adams, who heads RTKL Associates Inc., named James L. Hughes acting director. Mr. Hughes previously was the institute's program director.

Editor named:

The former managing editor of Mid-Atlantic Country magazine has been named executive editor of Baltimore magazine in one of a number of hirings announced yesterday by Jonathan Witty, the magazine's editor and associate publisher.

Ramsey Flynn, a former senior writer for Baltimore magazine and a former writer at Washingtonian magazine, is expected to assume his new position next week, Mr. Witty said.

In other staff announcements made by the magazine yesterday: Lois W. Perschetz, a former senior editor at Women's Wear Daily and W in New York, was appointed style editor; Craig Stoltz, former editor of Washington Dossier and most recently a free-lance writer, was named managing editor; and Merrill Witty, Mr. Witty's wife and antiques columnist at Mid-Atlantic Country, was named arts editor.

Lawyers leave:

Claude Edward Hitchcock, one of the first blacks to be made a law partner in a major Baltimore firm, has left the dissolving Frank, Bernstein, Conaway & Goldman for Tydings & Rosenberg. Mr. Hitchcock, 49, is now a partner at Tydings.

Two other Frank, Bernstein attorneys, Deborah W. Steele and Marc J. Lipchin, also joined Tydings as partners.

Consumer prices up slightly in May

Consumer prices rose a tiny 0.1 percent in May, the best showing in four months, as a drop in food costs helped to offset higher energy prices, the government said today.

The Labor Department said the small May advance in the Consumer Price Index followed gains of 0.2 percent in April and 0.5 percent in March.

The performance of consumer prices last month was in sharp contrast to Thursday's report on wholesale prices which showed them rising 0.4 percent, the fastest pace in 19 months.

Analysts had largely dismissed the wholesale price report as a statistical aberration that had been skewered by a huge jump in tobacco costs. They said they believed the CPI report better reflected the reality that an extremely weak economy is keeping inflation well under control.

For the first five months of this year, consumer prices have risen at an annual rate of 3 percent, even better than last year's 3.1 percent increase which had been the second-best performance in 26 years.

Inflation jumps; spending flutters

Wholesale inflation in May took its biggest jump in a year and a half while consumers kept a lid on retail spending, the government said yesterday in two reports that indicated renewed pressure on the economic recovery.

The reports added to growing concern that the economy is chugging along at a weak pace and could get derailed if it weakens much further.

The Labor Department said the Producer Price Index, a measure of wholesale inflation, rose an unexpected 0.4 percent. When the volatile energy and food sectors were excluded, the rise was 0.6 percent.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose a scant 0.2 percent in May following a revised 0.4 percent gain in April, an indication that consumers are being cautious about spending.

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