Microsoft persuaded an appeals court to lift a preliminary injunction that has blocked the software maker from shipping products using a modified version of Sun Microsystems's copyrighted Java software code. The decision reverses a federal trial judge's Nov. 17 ruling that concluded Sun was likely to prevail on its allegation that Microsoft had violated the terms of a 1996 license agreement for Java.

Eskimo Pie of Richmond has received a buyout offer from an unidentified investor group that is offering $10.125 a share, or about $35 million. Company spokesman William Perry said that the board was "proceeding down a path of evaluating the offer" but that he did not expect a quick decision. Yogen Fruz World-Wide of Toronto, which owns 17 percent of Eskimo Pie, is seeking to force its sale and has offered a slate of board candidates for Eskimo Pie's annual stockholders meeting Sept. 8.

Zenith, the second-biggest U.S. television maker, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors as it moved toward financial reorganization after years of withering foreign competition. Glenview, Ill.-based Zenith--54 percent owned by South Korea's LG Group--listed $310.9 million in assets and $732 million in debts in the court papers.

Global Crossing, the builder of a worldwide fiber-optic network, said its purchase of Frontier Corp. is on track despite the recent drop in its share price. Global Crossing will pay $63 in stock for each share of Frontier if Global Crossing shares trade between $34.56 and $56.78. If the price falls below $34.56 for 15 out of 30 unspecified trading days period before the agreement closes, Frontier can walk away from the merger.

Sun Microsystems, the fourth-largest maker of server computers, agreed to buy Forte Software for about $540 million in stock to acquire technology for doing business on the Internet. Forte's products are used for large projects that have to be running all the time.

AT&T said it won a $400 million contract from AlliedSignal to provide worldwide telecommunications and data-networking services. AlliedSignal said it wants to standardize its global communications. The company's AT&T Solutions subsidiary will centralize AlliedSignal's communications technology and manage it across the company's business units. The deal involves nearly 400 sites in 19 countries.

Intel, the world's No. 1 computer-chip maker, cut prices on Pentium III chips to spur holiday-season demand and compete with rival Advanced Micro Devices. The price of the 550-megahertz chip fell 26 percent, to $487; the 500MHz chip, 41 percent, to $251; and the 450MHz chip, 20 percent, to $183. The 600MHz chip remains at $669 as Advanced Micro Devices prepares to roll out a 650MHz chip.

IBM is near an agreement with Compaq Computer to make a faster version of Compaq's Alpha chip using copper wiring, a person familiar with the plan said. The proposed multiyear contract is expected to be completed by October and would generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for International Business Machines, the person said. The new chips would help make Compaq's server computers more competitive with those of Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

T-bill rates rose. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday rose to 4.85 percent, from 4.68 percent the previous week. Rates on six-month bills rose to 4.95 percent from 4.90 percent. The actual return to investors is 4.991 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,876.10, and 5.161 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,749.80. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 5.20 percent from 5.23 percent last week.

Gasoline prices continued their upward trend in the past two weeks, spurred by high crude-oil prices and a continuing demand from summer drivers, an industry analyst said. The national weighted average on Friday, including all grades and taxes, was $1.31, up 2.51 cents from the previous survey Aug. 6, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the Lundberg Survey of 10,000 gas stations nationwide. The price continued a steady upward trend since mid-June, Lundberg said.

INTERNATIONALEcuador said it may seek to restructure almost $6 billion in so-called Brady bonds, which would make it the first country to ever default on the debt. Ecuadoran officials, who are facing a $93.5 million bond payment due at the end of this month, have been meeting with International Monetary Fund officials to negotiate the release of $1.2 billion in fund aid.

Argentina's industrial production fell a seasonally adjusted 2 percent in July from June, sinking hopes that the country is starting to pull out this year's recession. Industrial activity plunged 14.2 percent compared with July 1998, in line with the forecast given by Secretary of Trade and Industry Alieto Guadagni last week. Industrial production is down 10.7 percent between January and July compared with the same 1998 period, the government said.

Tyco International, a Bermuda-based manufacturing and services company, said it was buying General Surgical Innovations, a California-based maker of medical products, in a stock swap worth $100 million. Under the deal, Tyco said it would give General Surgical shareholders a fraction of a Tyco share worth $7.50 for each share of General Surgical, a premium of more than 15 percent over its closing price yesterday. The deal would bolster Tyco's Healthcare Group by adding General Surgical's balloon dissection devices used in minimally invasive surgery and was expected to immediately add to earnings, Tyco said.

BMW shares fell less than 1 percent in low-volume trading in a muted reaction to the company's 26-for-1 stock split. BMW, Germany's No. 3 automaker, announced the stock split to save money by issuing only virtual shares, which will be held electronically in banks and trading accounts, and to make the shares more attractive to individual investors.

France Telecom, France's largest phone company, said it is close to reaching an agreement to sell part of its cable television network to Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux. As the country's top cable company, France Telecom wants to sell the portions of its network it doesn't operate to stem losses from the unit.

LOCAL BUSINESSDistrict-based Danaher, a maker of Sears Craftsman hand tools, will buy a division of Atlas Copco, a Swedish industrial-machinery maker that wants to concentrate on its core businesses. Terms were not disclosed. The division, which makes systems that convert electronic pulses into motion, had $56.4 million in sales last year.

Final Analysis, a Lanham-based satellite communications company, has received a $75 million contract from General Dynamics to develop and launch satellites for a low-Earth-orbit communications system that will provide e-mail, paging, parcel tracking and other services in remote areas. Falls Church-based General Dynamics will acquire an undisclosed amount of equity in Final Analysis, a private company with just under $10 million in revenue last year.

Aether Systems of Owings Mills has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The company, which provides wireless communications services using hand-held devices, will likely start trading in October and is expected to raise about $75 million. Aether, which changed its name from Aether Technologies on Friday, also said it will buy Mobeo of Bethesda, a manufacturer of two-way pagers, for $12.3 million, in a deal expected to close next month.

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