Media General of Richmond said it will buy Spartan Communications and its 13 television stations for $605 million. Spartan owns two ABC affiliates and 10 CBS affiliates. It leases and operates one UPN affiliate. Seven of the stations are in the Southeast, where Media General's holdings are concentrated. Four are in Kansas, and one is in Iowa. Media General also announced that it will repurchase $250 million of its common stock during the next year.
The Justice Department has informed Cisco Systems and International Business Machines that the agency will not seek to block their $2 billion alliance, according to Cisco officials. The antitrust division had investigated the deal, proposed in August, under which IBM would essentially bow out of the computer networking market in exchange for an agreement by Cisco to buy $2 billion in IBM parts in the coming five years. Initially, Justice lawyers were said to be concerned that the alliance would eliminate a key competitor to Cisco in the networking market.
Amazon.com and Sprint's wireless business introduced a new service that allows customers to shop on Amazon.com through Sprint PCS Internet-ready wireless telephones. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. The agreement is not exclusive, meaning that Amazon.com could sell through other carriers as well. Sprint PCS has more than 5 million customers, with 1 million of them owning Web-enabled phones, the company said.
Xerox said its investigations into distributors of counterfeit supplies led to an arrest and seizure of supplies in Pittsburgh and confiscation of supplies in Milwaukee. Pittsburgh police charged Robert Leonard, president of distributor Alberta International, with felony trademark counterfeiting. In May, authorities in Milwaukee seized 47,000 boxes of counterfeit supplies that would have sold for $8 million.
Revlon said it will eliminate about 280 positions in its New York and New Jersey offices by the end of the year to cut costs. The cosmetics maker said in January that it would eliminate 1,000 to 1,200 jobs, or about 7 percent of its work force, as sales slumped. Yesterday's announcement brought the total cuts to about 1,400.
Evergreen Funds, a money-management arm of First Union, said it has agreed to buy Stamper Capital and Investments, adding $448 million in bond assets. Charlotte-based Evergreen, which oversees about $79 billion, is gaining the $410 million Davis Tax-Free High Income and $38 million Davis Intermediate Grade Bond funds. Evergreen declined to disclose terms of the transaction.
Little Caesars Enterprises said it will open 400 restaurants in Japan and 300 in Latin America over the next three years. The Detroit-based chain has licensed its name to Little Caesars Japan, a Japanese company that will pay royalties to Little Caesars Enterprises. The company plans a similar deal in Latin America. Customers will be able to order U.S. favorites such as pepperoni pizza or get local favorites such as pizza covered with mayonnaise and topped with squid, tuna, scallops, shrimp, corn and potatoes.
Air Canada said it had acquired more than half of the shares of troubled rival Canadian Airlines and reached an agreement with American Airlines parent AMR on buying out its interest in Canadian. Air Canada also said it reached a "milestone agreement" with AMR under which Air Canada will acquire the Texas-based company's preferred-share stake in Canadian.