Canadian publisher gets offerRogers Communications...

BUSINESS DIGEST

February 12, 1994

Canadian publisher gets offer

Rogers Communications, Canada's largest cable company, ended a week of speculation yesterday and launched a $2.1 billion (U.S.) cash bid for publisher Maclean Hunter Ltd.

As a sweetener to the $12.75 per share offer, Rogers also offered Maclean Hunter shareholders part of anything over $1.1 billion it gets from the planned sale of Maclean Hunter's U.S. cable television operations.

But Rogers could face a struggle with Maclean Hunter's board, which implemented a shareholder-rights protection plan in 1989, allowing only a "permitted" bid or a negotiated offer.

German union mulls strike vote

Talks between management and Germany's largest union broke down late yesterday, and union officials said they will call for a strike vote that could cripple carmakers, engineering firms and electronics producers.

Klaus Zwickel, head of the IG Metall union, told reporters that management was forcing the union into taking strong action. He said meetings with regional IG Metall branches would be held next week to confer about holding a strike vote Feb. 21.

The Gesamtmetall employers association wants to freeze wages and cut vacation benefits of 3.6 million workers in steel, autos, metalworking and electronics plants.

Upjohn executive denies charge

A senior Upjohn Co. executive denied yesterday that he concealed evidence from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about the company's sleeping aid, Halcion.

Royston Drucker, 40, testified in London during Upjohn's libel action against the British Broadcasting Corp. and Scottish psychiatrist Ian Oswald, who was featured in a 1991 broadcast criticizing Halcion as unsafe.

The documentary accused Mr. Drucker of failing to present to the FDA two studies that were critical of the sleeping aid.

The drug was ordered withdrawn from the British market in 1991 after allegations it caused such side effects as depression, anxiety and memory loss. It remains available in the United States.

$110 million awarded steel firm

National Steel Corp., the nation's fourth-largest steel company, said yesterday that it received more than $110 million from USX Corp. on behalf of its former subsidiary, Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad, in an antitrust damage judgment.

Hilton opens riverboat casino

Hilton Hotels Corp. said yesterday its "Queen of New Orleans" riverboat casino opened Thursday, becoming the first riverboat casino to begin operating on the Mississippi River in New Orleans.

The casino opened on the eve of the city's celebration leading up to Mardi Gras.

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