Washington Homes' acquisitionLandover-based Washington...

BUSINESS DIGEST

June 07, 1994

Washington Homes' acquisition

Landover-based Washington Homes Inc. announced a $15 million acquisition yesterday of the homebuilding division of Westminster Homes Inc., a North Carolina single-family home builder.

The purchase gives Washington Homes control of more than 1,300 building lots and a contract backlog of 79 sold homes, said President Geaton A. DeCesaris Jr. Westminster, a subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co. of Tacoma, Wash., built 309 homes in North Carolina last year.

Times Mirror stock drops

Stock of Times Mirror Co. fell sharply yesterday, losing nearly all the gains it made on Friday when the company announced an agreement to sell its cable television interests to Cox Enterprises Inc. for $2.3 billion.

The Los Angeles-based company's stock closed $3 lower yesterday, at $32.75, on the New York Stock Exchange. It had gained $3.75 on Friday.

In closing the deal, Los Angeles-based Times Mirror, which publishes The Sun and The Evening Sun, said it will cut its common stock dividend to between one-fifth and one-third of the current annual payout of $1.08 a share.

Analysts were surprised by the stock drop and speculated it might stem from Times Mirror's dividend cut or the format of the merger.

EAI shares fall 13%

Education Alternatives Inc. shares fell 13 percent yesterday after the company admitted it erred last August when reporting on the progress of Baltimore school students using its computer learning system.

In an Aug. 25 news release, the company said the 4,800 students in nine public schools managed by the company had gained an average of 0.88 grade levels after three months in the program.

Yesterday, the company said the improvement reflected the performance of only 954 students in five city schools. The admission followed a report on the company this weekend in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which first disclosed the error.

Shares of the Minneapolis company closed down $2.25, at $14.75, in heavy trading.

Martin to develop system for FBI

The U.S. Department of Justice has selected Bethesda-based Martin Marietta Corp. as one of three companies to develop an automated fingerprint identification system for the FBI, the company announced yesterday.

Under the $11.5 million contract, Orlando, Fla.-based Martin Marietta Information Systems will adapt image processing capability, originally developed to recognize military targets, to enable law enforcement officials to match fingerprints within 15 minutes.

The three companies are scheduled to demonstrate their systems in the summer of 1995. The FBI plans to have the

winning system operational in 1998.

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