Northrop targets 'poison pill'Pressing its $2 billion bid...

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 15, 1994

Northrop targets 'poison pill'

Pressing its $2 billion bid to acquire Grumman Corp., Northrop Corp. yesterday asked the Long Island aerospace company to eliminate a "poison pill" defense aimed at preventing hostile takeovers.

Northrop said in papers filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that Grumman waived the poison pill for Martin Marietta Corp., the Bethesda, Md., company that previously said it would buy Grumman for $1.9 billion in a friendly deal, and must do the same for Northrop.

Grumman inserted the poison pill into its bylaws in February 1988, four months after the stock market crash. The company's stock had dropped 20 percent, and officials feared the low price might make Grumman vulnerable to a takeover. The provision requires Grumman's board to approve any purchase of more than 30 percent of the company's outstanding common stock.

Wal-Mart to rehire workers

Wal-Mart Inc., which last week laid off 38 workers at its two Baltimore-area Sam's Clubs stores, said yesterday that it had reconsidered and will rehire most of the workers at the Baltimore County stores.

"They reviewed the situation and they decided to keep staffing where it was," said Trey Baker, a spokesman for Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart.

Last week's reductions had affected 30 workers at the Sam's Club at 1718 Woodlawn Drive, which has a work force of 200. Eight employees were laid off at the 143-worker store at 8250

Eastern Ave.

Bank restrictions to be lifted

Baltimore Bancorp, parent of the Bank of Baltimore, said yesterday that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Maryland bank commissioner, following their recent joint annual examination, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond expect to terminate the cease-and-desist order the regulators signed with the bank in July 1992.

The order required Bank of Baltimore to raise its capital ratios and lower the amount of troubled assets on its books. The agreement also sharply restricted the types of activities the company could undertake without regulatory approval.

Strike hits 2 GM plants in Ohio

About 3,000 workers went on strike yesterday at two General Motors Corp. plants that make brake systems, threatening the company's nationwide auto production.

The United Auto Workers walked out of the Delco Chassis Division plants after the union and GM failed to agree on a new three-year contract.

?3 The union is seeking additional job protection.

January inventories moved slightly

Business inventories were virtually unchanged in January, while sales -- due to a weather-related decline in retail spending -- fell for the first time in six months, the government said yesterday.

Sales slipped 0.3 percent after five consecutive increases, to a

seasonally adjusted $610.9 billion.

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