LDDS offers $2 billion for WilTelLong-distance phone...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 05, 1994

LDDS offers $2 billion for WilTel

Long-distance phone company LDDS Communications Inc. has offered $2 billion to buy rival Williams Telecommunications Group, saying it wants WilTel's technology and base of large private customers.

LDDS is the nation's fourth-largest long-distance telephone company. Based in Jackson, Miss., it is chaired by billionaire John Kluge, one of the country's richest people.

Tulsa, Okla.-based WilTel caters mostly to large business clients. A merger would create a long-distance company that could begin to rival AT&T, MCI and Sprint.

Loans for small retailers

The Downtown Partnership, a group that promotes Baltimore's central business district, said yesterday that it will help make as much as $300,000 available for loans to retailers and other small businesses.

Two philanthropic groups, the Abell Foundation and the Alex. Brown & Sons Charitable Foundation, have set up a guaranty fund of $150,000 to back the program.

Loans, provided by several area banks, will range from $5,000 to $50,000.

For more information, call 528-7714.

Sales, factories indicate growth

The economy is growing solidly in most parts of the country except for California, but even that state is improving, the Federal Reserve said yesterday in its so-called Beige Book report.

With a return of milder weather in March, retail sales were reported strong everywhere. Clothing sales were improving, and new-car sales were very strong.

Aside from aerospace, manufacturing was expanding, and production of cars and parts, steel and building materials was near capacity.

Cellular One begins digital service

Cellular One Washington/Baltimore announced yesterday that it has introduced commercial digital cellular telephone service to the Baltimore area. The service, which is expected to bring clearer, more secure signals to consumers who purchase digital cellular phones, initially will be available only within the Baltimore Beltway but will be available throughout the Baltimore-Washington region by the end of 1994, the company said.

The Southwestern Bell subsidiary's announcement follows a February digital rollout by its chief rival, Bell Atlantic Mobile.

Clorox to close Frederick plant

Clorox Co. has announced plans to close its Frederick plant Sept. 2, leaving 19 production workers without jobs.

Clorox opened its plant here in 1964. Workers there made Clorox Clean-up and Liquid Plum'r.

The company said in November 1990 that it would close the Frederick facility once a new plant opened in Aberdeen. That plant opened last year.

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