Baby Bell slates own breakupPacific Telesis Group, one of...

BUSINESS DIGEST

December 12, 1992

Baby Bell slates own breakup

Pacific Telesis Group, one of the largest of the Baby Bells created by the breakup of AT&T eight years ago, yesterday became the first to announce its own breakup, spinning off the wireless phone business.

The announcement, which came after the stock market had closed, will create two telecommunications companies free to pursue ventures that had been restricted under the antitrust provisions that broke up AT&T. The PacTel Group, which now controls both PacBell and PacTel, will let go of PacTel Corp., which oversees the wireless operations including PacTel Paging and PacTel Cellular.

State opens insurance fraud unit

Using money donated by insurance companies, Maryland opened an insurance fraud division yesterday to investigate and prosecute fraudulent claims filed by Maryland policyholders.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer created the new fraud unit by executive order and staffed it with six people from state police, the insurance division and the attorney general's office.

He persuaded insurance companies to contribute $110,000 to help pay start-up costs and operation for the first year. The state will assume the rest of the cost, which is not yet known. The toll-free number to report fraud is (800) 846-4069.

Big 3 confer about electric car

The U.S. Big Three automakers said yesterday that they would study whether to share research that could speed development of a commercially viable electric car.

The agreement, which so far calls only for discussions, capped a week during which the industry buzzed with rumors that General Motors Corp. might scrap its heavily publicized electric car program. GM denied those rumors yesterday and announced it would build 50 field demonstration models of its Impact electric car next year.

Airlines face price-fixing suit

The Department of Justice plans to file a lawsuit against major airlines, claiming they violated price-fixing laws by sharing plans for fare changes through a computer system, officials said yesterday.

About three years ago the government started investigating whether airlines signaled price changes to each other through a system intended to give travel agents and passengers advance notice of fare increases or discounts.

Macy posts loss, improving sales

R. H. Macy & Co. Inc. said yesterday that it lost nearly $135.9 million in its first quarter, but also said its sales continue to improve and post-Thanksgiving business is ahead of expectations. Under bankruptcy court protection since January, Macy said its loss in the quarter ended Oct. 31 was narrower than a year earlier.

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