FCC chief William E. Kennard has ordered that the agency file an appeals court brief in a power struggle over high-speed Internet access via cable. In a speech to the Federal Communications Bar Association in San Francisco, Kennard said he wants to "explain to the court why it's important that we have a national policy" regarding cable Internet access. The policy Kennard favors is a "hands-off" approach to the issue.
Allied Waste Industries' $9.4 billion acquisition of Browning-Ferris Industries awaits Justice Department approval as the two companies agreed to sell operations potentially worth $500 million. The agency said the original deal would have reduced competition and thus forced residents, businesses and government agencies to pay higher prices for poorer service in 18 metropolitan areas within 13 states.
PNC Bank and First Data, an electronic payment services company, struck a deal in which First Data will sell its mutual fund services unit to PNC for $1.1 billion in cash. PNC of Pittsburgh said First Data Investor Services Group would make its own mutual fund servicing arm a leading force in the securities accounts processing business.
Enron plans to relinquish control its oil and gas subsidiary in exchange for $600 million and the unit's China and India operations. In the deal set to close Aug. 31, Enron will reduce its stake in Enron Oil and Gas from about 82.27 million shares, or 54 percent, to 20 million shares, or less than 17 percent.
The food fight has escalated since the United States imposed 100 percent penalty tariffs for the European Union's ban on U.S. hormone-treated beef. French Agriculture Minister Jean Glavany responded by calling American food the "worst food in the world." Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said the "inflammatory nature" of the remarks would worsen the dispute.
Nike is voluntarily recalling 250,000 sports water bottles from stores after learning that part of the product could detach and be swallowed. The recall was announced yesterday by Nike and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Nike discovered the problem and reported it to the agency.
Three airlines posted profit increases. Northwest Airlines, the sixth-largest U.S. carrier, said its profit more than doubled in the second quarter, to $120 million from $49 million. Southwest, the nation's fourth-largest airline, posted an 18 percent profit rise, to $157.8 million. The parent of America West, the nation's ninth-largest airline, reported a 2 percent increase in profit, to $42.3 million.
GM, benefiting from increased sales of light trucks in North America, reported a fivefold increase in profit, to $1.73 billion, from a year ago. Last year's results excluded earnings from GM's former parts unit, Delphi Automotive Systems, which was spun off in May.
PepsiCo reported a 7 percent increase in second-quarter earnings from continuing operations, beating Wall Street expectations. For the quarter ended June 12, Pepsi had an operating profit of $467 million, compared with $435 million in the year-ago quarter.
Occidental Petroleum said weak chemical sales sent second-quarter earnings down 96 percent, to $9 million, despite a rebound in oil prices. Los Angeles-based Occidental's operatings earnings were 3 cents per share, compared with Wall Street expectations of a loss of 4 cents per share, according to First Call.
Texas Instruments' second-quarter quarter profit more than doubled, to $372 million from $142 million a year ago. The Dallas company said gains in semiconductor chips more than offset the loss of sales from the memory-chip business it sold last year.
TRW said second-quarter earnings rose 22 percent, to $153.5 million, excluding restructuring charges, boosted by the first full-quarter results of LucasVarity, a British auto parts maker acquired on March 25.
United Technologies' second-quarter profit rose 19 percent on strong performances in its Carrier air-conditioning, Otis elevators and Pratt & Whitney jet engine segments. UTC earned $427 million, excluding a one-time gain of $650 million from the sale of the company's automotive business.
America Online's ICQ instant messaging service division has signed a four-year multimillion-dollar deal with Net2Phone, an Internet telephone company in Hackensack, N.J. Beginning in early 2000, Net2Phone will help ICQ, which has 38 million registrants, develop a service that will allow users to more easily make low-cost calls over the Internet.
EG&G, a developer and manufacturer of medical and security screening instruments, plans to sell its government services unit for $250 million to the Carlyle Group, a District equity firm. The sale comes as EG&G hopes to become a more focused, commercial high-technology company.