U.S. to probe Kodak's claimU.S. Trade Representative...

BUSINESS DIGEST

July 01, 1995

U.S. to probe Kodak's claim

U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor is expected to announce Monday a U.S. government probe of charges by Eastman Kodak Co. that the Japanese government is "tolerating" anti-competitive practices in photographic film and paper.

The investigation, likely to take months, would center on Kodak's claim that Fuji Photo Film Co., with the tacit approval of Japanese government agencies, is blocking its access to Japanese film and paper distributors.

Nations exclude U.S. on trade plan

Leaving the United States isolated after it rejected a global plan for liberalizing trade in financial services, a large group of industrial and developing nations said yesterday that they favored pressing ahead with the plan on their own.

The effort won support from all 15 nations in the European Union, which endorsed it at a hastily convened meeting of ministers last night. It was supported by a number of other nations.

The governing council of the World Trade Organization also gave its support to the European approach, as well as to the exclusion from the plan of the United States.

Corporate mergers surge in 1995

Corporate mergers, propelled by a rising economy, global competition and record-high stock prices, surged to a record $181.7 billion in the first half of 1995, exceeding last year's six-month total by 40 percent.

More than $100 billion worth of U.S. mergers made the second quarter the busiest ever, according to preliminary totals compiled by Securities Data Co.

Columbia completes stock offering

Columbia Bancorp said yesterday that it has completed a secondary common stock offering of 862,500 shares for $13.50 a share. The company, parent of the Columbia Bank, said 685,903 of the shares were sold by the company, while 176,597 shares were sold by certain holders of its stock, options and warrants.

The company said proceeds from the offering would be used to redeem its Series A preferred stock, to pursue possible acquisitions and for general corporate purposes. Columbia Bancorp closed yesterday at $14 a share, down 18.75 cents.

Haft pays ex-wife $1.5 million

Herbert Haft, the chairman of Dart Group Corp., saved his Washington mansion from a foreclosure sale by making a $1.5 million payment to his ex-wife Gloria.

He was about to lose the multimillion-dollar mansion near Washington's prestigious Embassy Row because he made only $2.5 million of a $4 million payment that was due June 1 under a divorce settlement. Gloria Haft subsequently foreclosed on the property and arranged for its sale.

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