Rite Aid named Kroger executive Robert Miller as chairman and chief executive, sending the drugstore chain's shares up 40 percent. Miller, 55, was Kroger's vice chairman and chief operating officer and had been CEO of the Fred Meyer Inc. grocery and department stores. He succeeds Martin Grass, who quit in October.

Texas Instruments unveiled a long-term strategy to boost chip performance based on advances in materials, technology and manufacturing capacity. It said that by 2010 it will create a chip composed of dozens of digital signal processor chips, each with 500 million integrated transistors, yielding the power of today's laptop in a device the size of a wristwatch.

Bell Atlantic's wireless partnership with Vodafone AirTouch was approved by the Justice Department on the condition that the companies eliminate some overlapping properties. Justice said the the companies would have to sell off holdings in San Francisco, Cleveland, Phoenix, Seattle and Cincinnati in what it described as "likely the largest divestiture package ever required by the Antitrust Division." The consent decree supersedes one reached in May by Bell Atlantic and GTE as part of their pending merger and requires the sale of holdings in 96 markets in 15 states, the department said. Yesterday's agreement requires the sale of holdings in 34 more markets than the previous deal.

Arthur Coia, the embattled president of the Laborers' International Union, has decided to step aside at the end of the year, and the union's board has chosen Terry O'Sullivan, 44, the union vice president who runs the Mid-Atlantic region, to replace him, according to three labor officials.

T-bill rates fell. The discount rate on three-month Treasury bills auctioned yesterday fell to 5.05 percent, from 5.2 percent the previous week. Rates on six-month bills fell to 5.29 percent from 5.33 percent. The actual return to investors is 5.203 percent for three-month bills, with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,872.30, and 5.525 percent for a six-month bill selling for $9,732.60. Separately, the Federal Reserve said the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 5.73 percent last week.


The Washington Post Co. said it will merge its two regional technology publications, TechCapital and TechGazette, by year's end. The new publication, which has yet to be named, will be a twice-monthly tabloid newsmagazine that will focus on the Washington area's growing technology community. The company also announced the launch of a new Web site, www.washtech.com, which will carry a TechCapital feature on technology investor transactions. Three jobs within Post-Newsweek Business Information Inc. will be eliminated as a result of the merger.

Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, a Republican lobbying firm, will announce today that it has been purchased by Interpublic Group, a publicly traded holding company in Manhattan. The price is reportedly $15 million to $20 million. Barbour, Griffith is one of the city's most influential lobbying shops; clients include Microsoft and major tobacco firms.

The Federal Trade Commission staff will recommend that the agency charge McCormick & Co. of Sparks, Md., with giving discounts to certain retailers in return for shelf space and product placement, according to sources familiar with the investigation. Manufacturers are not supposed to discriminate among retailers unless they are trying to match competitors' prices. McCormick said it does not believe it has engaged in wrongdoing.

Orbital Sciences of Dulles, the biggest U.S. maker of small satellites, said it launched seven satellites on its Pegasus rocket Saturday, expanding its data-communications network of satellites to 35. The satellites will be used for Orbital's Orbcomm Global unit, which sells messaging and data-transmission services to trucking companies and companies that explore for oil and natural gas.

Williams Industries, a Falls Church heavy-construction company, said it earned $188,000 on revenue of $8.8 million in its fiscal first quarter ended Oct. 31, up 8 percent from $174,000 a year earlier.