Venator Group is reshuffling management and planning to close or sell eight small chains with about 500 locations. The New York company, the largest U.S. retailer of athletic shoes, said its San Francisco Music Box, Randy River, Foot Locker Outlets, Colorado U.S., Team Edition and Going to the Game chains will be affected, along with its Burger King franchises. President Dale Hilpert will replace Roger Farah as chief executive. Farah will stay on as chairman.
Time Warner, the world's largest media company, named Roger Ames chairman and chief executive of its Warner Music Group. Ames will replace departing co-chairmen Robert Daly and Terry Semel. Time Warner is looking for a big boost to its music business from the growth of the Internet.
The Federal Communications Commission reasserted its authority to regulate providers of high-speed Internet access and raised questions about how to classify cable companies that offer such services. In its long-awaited friend-of-the-court brief in AT&T's case against Portland, Ore., the FCC warned that local officials could create "regulatory disparity" by exercising authority over cable companies offering Internet service.
Roadway Express of Akron, Ohio, will raise rates 5.2 percent on Sept. 12, following its top rivals, to capitalize on the trucking industry's busiest season. Previously, trucking companies boosted rates Jan. 1, the start of their slowest quarter.
Waste Management dumped its top management, including President Rodney Proto, who had sold shares before the company issued a profit warning, and said it was shedding all international and some domestic businesses. The largest U.S. trash hauler also said the Securities and Exchange Commission was conducting a "formal investigation" of financial statements and accounting policies and an "informal inquiry" into stock sales by company officers and directors. It also said John Drury resigned as chairman and chief executive but remains a director.
Walt Disney Co. has instructed the heads of each of its businesses to review their capital spending in an effort to boost return on investment. Disney's chief financial officer, Thomas Staggs, is leading the review, which the Wall Street Journal reported may result in Disney slowing or curtailing the expansion of businesses such as its Disney Stores and Disney Quest arcades.
T-bill rates fell. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday fell to 4.680 percent, from 4.790 percent the previous week. Rates on six-month bills fell to 4.900 percent from 4.915 percent. The actual return to investors is 4.815 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,881.70, and 5.108 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,752.30. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 5.23 percent last week from 5.13 percent the previous week.
DaimlerChrysler is recalling 2.1 million minivans. About 1.4 million 1991-93 Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan, and Plymouth Voyager models are being recalled because the bolts on the lift gate could loosen; 18 people have reported minor injuries from the opened hatch falling on them. The vehicles are also being recalled to fix the windshield wipers. An additional 743,000 of the three minivans from model year 1996 are being recalled to replace the lock nut and gasket on the fuel pump. Owners will be notified of the recalls next month by mail.
Lowe's, the world's second-largest home- improvement retailer, said fiscal second-quarter earnings rose 27 percent, to $230.2 million.
United Parcel Service said it will restate its fiscal second-quarter earnings to take a charge of $1.44 billion after it was ordered this month to pay back taxes and penalties. UPS said the charge will result in a loss of $854 million for the quarter ended July 30. The company earlier reported net income had risen 28 percent, to $588 million.
Biospherics of Beltsville said it lost $842,000 on revenue of $3.5 million for the three months that ended June 30, compared with earnings of $276,000 on revenue of $5.5 million for the same period a year earlier. The company, which is largely a telecommunications services firm but is also conducting research on a sugar replacement, blamed "less than projected business growth" under a contract with the National Park Service and two other pacts.
America Online's suit against AT&T was dismissed by a federal judge in Alexandria who said that Dulles-based AOL does not have exclusive rights to the expressions "you have mail," "buddy list" and "IM," which is an abbreviation for its instant messaging service. AOL said it plans to appeal the decision.
AOL announced a deal with EMusic.com of Redwood City, Calif., in which EMusic.com will sell downloadable music, using the MP3 format, on AOL's ICQ, Spinner and Winamp services. EMusic.com, which has a catalogue of 20,000 songs, will pay AOL an undisclosed fixed marketing fee as well as a share of each transaction over the three-year deal. AOL will also get warrants in EMusic.com.
Axent Technologies launched what it calls the first customer-driven, Internet-based system of security improvements in the information security industry. The Rockville-based company's new "product enhancement request form" lets customers submit requests online for enhancements to Axent's e-security services.
Hanley-Wood, a Washington-based publishing company that produces magazines for industries including the home-building, remodeling and commercial construction industries, has been acquired by a New York-based investment banking firm, VS&A Communications Partners, for an undisclosed amount.