In the Region Curtain dropping on 12 screens at Golden...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 19, 2000

In the Region

Curtain dropping on 12 screens at Golden Ring Mall

United Artists will close its 12-screen movie theater at Golden Ring Mall in Baltimore County, Lisa Hoffer, the mall's marketing director, said yesterday.

Officials at Colorado-based United Artists Theatre Circuit, which operates about 300 theaters with nearly 2,000 screens, did not return calls yesterday. Recently, United Artists has been closing under-performing theaters - mostly smaller, older ones. The company closed its nine-screen movie theater at the Inner Harbor in March.

Baltimore Advisors to close this month

Baltimore Advisors, a nonprofit consulting firm that works to revitalize commerce in blighted areas of the city, said it will close by the end of this month, because it has not been able to solicit enough donations to continue to grow.

Managing Director Ursula Powidzki said the organization, founded in the fall of 1996, is negotiating with the business departments of local universities to transfer elements of its programs there.

The Corporate Partner Network, which pairs successful business professionals with local start-ups, will be transferred to a university business department and maintain affiliation with the national Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

Beth Steel, Austrian firm form joint venture

Bethlehem Steel Corp. said yesterday it has formed a joint venture with an Austrian firm that will transform its Sparrows Point machine shop from an in-house parts supplier to one that will seek customers outside the company.

Under the 50-50 joint venture with Voest-Alpine, the machine shop will be staffed with Bethlehem workers and supplied with Bethlehem machines, while Voest-Alpine will supply an undisclosed amount of cash to modernize it.

The shop, called Chesapeake Heavy Machine Services L.L.C., will continue at its current level of 100 employees, but more could be added.

Bell Atlantic plans savings for New Jersey customers

Bell Atlantic Corp., the first regional telephone company to enter the long-distance business, proposed a new rate plan in New Jersey that could reduce customers' basic service costs by 18 percent.

Bell Atlantic sent a proposal to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities offering to bundle touch-tone service with local and toll calling. Customers would be able to choose a monthly package that would be about $3.85 less on average than they pay now, the company said.

If the plan is approved, Bell Atlantic could start offering the services by the beginning of next year.

Elsewhere

Regulators raid Coke offices in London, Brussels

Coca-Cola Co., embarrassed last year by a series of mishaps in Europe, found itself under a cloud in the region yesterday, as anti-trust regulators raided the London and Brussels offices of the beverage giant's main bottler.

The early-morning raids were part of a widening probe into whether Coca-Cola and its 40-percent-owned bottler, Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc., had breached European Union competition laws by offering retailers illegal incentives to buy Coke products at the expense of rival brands.

The new investigation focuses on the British and Belgian markets, where Coca-Cola brands, including Coke, Fanta and Sprite, enjoy a commanding lead over those of its arch-rival PepsiCo Inc.

U.S. government probing Net airline-ticket venture

The Justice Department says it is investigating a joint venture financed by five U.S. airlines to sell tickets on the Internet.

The project, still going by its T2 planning name, is being developed by Boston Consulting Group on behalf of equity partners United Airlines, Northwest Airlines Corp. , Continental Airlines Inc. , Delta Air Lines Inc. and American Airlines.

An additional 25 airlines have agreed to be affiliate members, offering what T2 says will be the most comprehensive and unbiased source of travel information on the Internet.

Tandy to be renamed RadioShack Corp.

Shareholders in Tandy Corp. voted yesterday to shed the 40-year-old family name in favor of RadioShack Corp., reflecting the company's newfound focus on the largest U.S. chain of retail electronics stores and its desire to attract investors by putting the brand name on the share instead of the less-well-known Tandy tag.

The stock will start trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "RSH" on May 31, replacing "TAN."

Deutsche Bank to increase shares in online brokerage

Deutsche Bank AG reaffirmed its commitment to acquire a further stake in National Discount Brokers Group Inc., the U.S.-based online brokerage, despite a sharp decline in its share price.

The German banking giant said it will increase its holding in the Jersey City, N.J.-based firm, though its shares have plummeted 57 percent since the deal was agreed to March 28.

Deutsche Bank will buy 3 million shares, or a 14.3 percent stake, at $45.31 per share to bring its investment in the company to 16 percent.

International Paper gets OK for takeover

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