United Parcel Service raised $5.47 billion in the biggest initial public offering in history. UPS, the world's biggest package-delivery company, sold 109.4 million shares for $50 each, exceeding the expected range of $47 to $49. The Class B shares offered represent just 10 percent of the company's outstanding stock. The rest is held by its 330,000 employees, who have been able to buy shares directly from the company or receive them as bonus or compensation.
The derivatives market does not need government regulation and should not be subject to futures laws, U.S. regulators said. In a long-awaited report that eased investor fears, the regulators recommended that Congress rewrite the Commodity Exchange Act to provide clear legal certainty for widely used financial derivatives-- investments whose values are linked to underlying factors such as interest rates or currency exchange rates.
Seagram's Universal Music Group, the world's largest music company, unveiled an Internet-based record label that is partially backed by America Online. The venture, Jimmy and Doug's Farm Club, will be headed by Doug Morris, chairman of Universal Music, and Jimmy Iovine, co-chairman of Seagram's Interscope Geffen A&M label. Dulles-based AOL, the largest Internet service provider, will spend $100 million to promote the label in return for a 3 percent stake. Seagram will own the rest, a person familiar with the plan told Bloomberg News.
Waste Management appointed a veteran of two successful corporate turnarounds to solve the trash hauler's financial and operational problems and restore confidence among investors and customers. Maurice Myers joins the Houston-based company as chairman, chief executive and president from trucking firm Yellow Corp., where he held the same positions and presided over that company's recovery. Before joining Yellow, Myers was president and chief operating officer of America West Airlines, which he helped to emerge from bankruptcy protection.
Nortel Networks said it is slashing prices on some computer networking products and licensing its software for routing data traffic in an effort to undercut industry leader Cisco Systems. Ontario-based Nortel said its routers are now half the price of comparable Cisco products.
Avis Rent a Car named Barry Rand its chairman and chief executive, making him one of the few blacks to head a Fortune 1000 company. Rand quit his position as executive vice president at Xerox in January when he was passed over for chief executive. He managed $18 billion in revenue and 70,000 staffers at Xerox.
The House passed, 411 to 8, legislation that would allow satellite TV companies to carry local channels, making them more competitive with cable providers. The Senate plans to act on the bill before it recesses this week.
Procter & Gamble, the largest U.S. maker of household products, sold its slow-growing Prell shampoo business Nov. 1 to Prestige Brands International for an undisclosed price. Prestige Brands, a newly formed consumer-products company, said the Prell purchase is one of more to follow, as it seeks to buy more well-known brands.
Monsanto and Novartis were reported to be in merger talks that would form a formidable force in world agriculture markets if they could overcome strong antitrust scrutiny. Speculation about merger talks was reported in Monday's Wall Street Journal. Both companies declined comment. Analysts said Monsanto, which produced the herbicide Roundup and genetically modified seeds, has been under pressure to revive its flagging stock price, either by being acquired or spinning off its Searle pharmaceutical unit. Meanwhile, Novartis has been eager to bolster its drug offerings and was attractive to Searle, which boasts the top-selling arthritis drug Celebrex. Although the drug unit is tiny compared with the major multinational drug firms, its pipeline is well stocked with developmental drugs.
Amazon.com will add home-improvement goods, computer software and a wider array of video games to its Web site this week, the latest move by the Internet merchant to build itself into an online superstore. The money-losing company has said it will spend heavily this Christmas to further build its services and advertise its Web site, despite tallying bigger losses.
The interest rate on 52-week Treasury bills rose while yields on five-year Treasury notes fell, in separate auctions. The discount rate on 52-week Treasury bills was 5.170 percent, up from 5.115 percent at the last auction, on Oct. 13. The bills will carry an equivalent coupon interest rate of 5.471 percent, with each $10,000 in face value selling for $9,478.70. Yields on five-year Treasury notes fell to 5.888 percent, from 6.014 percent at the last auction, on Aug. 10. The notes will carry a coupon interest rate of 5 7/8 percent, with each $10,000 in face value selling for $9,994.40.
The European Commission today will propose banning some polyvinyl chloride toys made with cancer-causing chemical compounds called phthalates, a spokeswoman said. The European Union's executive agency will recommend an immediate ban on toys and soft PVC objects designed to be put in the mouths of children under 3 years old. The commission is cracking down after an EU scientific committee concluded that testing methods developed in the Netherlands and Britain don't distinguish accurately enough between safe and unsafe toys.
Cablevision Systems, the largest cable television company in the New York metropolitan area, said its third-quarter loss widened to $178.1 million from $113.6 million a year earlier, as it spent more on digital cable and faster Internet access services.
Cisco Systems, the world's No. 1 maker of Internet equipment, said fiscal first-quarter net income fell 14 percent, to $438 million, because of acquisition costs. Revenue in the quarter ended Oct. 30 climbed 49 percent, topping forecasts. Cisco also announced it has agreed to buy Aironet Wireless Communications for $799 million in stock, its first foray into the market for wireless corporate networks.
Wal-Mart said its fiscal third-quarter profit rose 29 percent, to $1.30 billion, boosted by strong sales at its U.S. discount stores and its operations abroad. Sales at the discount stores division climbed 14 percent, to $26.4 billion, while sales at its international division surged 100 percent, to $5.9 billion.
Shares of The Washington Post Co. rose $52, to $583, a 9.8 percent gain, after the company's announcement of a tender offer to purchase up to 500,000 shares of its Class B common stock at $575 each. The tender offer begins today and will expire Dec. 10.