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Business News: 8/1/01

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

USX board OKs split

USX Corp.'s board formally approved yesterday a reorganization plan that will divide its U.S. Steel and Marathon Oil businesses into two separate companies, subject to shareholder approval and a favorable tax ruling from the federal government.

It expects to complete the spinoff, unveiled in April, by year's end. It's hoped that the breakup, which would separate two businesses that have been joined for 19 years, will boost investors' returns and make it easier to use stock for acquisitions.

As part of the split, USX said U.S. Steel would remain in Pittsburgh and would be served by current USX directors Chairman Thomas Usher, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Charles R. Lee, Douglas C. Yearly, Seth E. Schofield, Paul E. Lego, John F. McGillicuddy, J. Gary Cooper and John W. Snow. Joining the U.S. Steel board will be former Inland Steel Industries Chairman Robert J. Darnall.

Also as part of the separation, USX said Robert M. Hernandez, 56, vice chairman and chief financial officer, would retire from the board and the corporation but, effective Jan. 1, would lead a transition team overseeing the closeout of USX's financial affairs.

Treasury sells four-week bills

The Treasury Department sold $10 billion of new four-week bills yesterday at an interest rate of 3.590 percent. The rate understates the actual return to investors -- 3.647 percent for four-week bills with a $10,000 bill selling for $9,972.10. It was the first auction of the four-week bills, which will be sold each Tuesday.

Dairy Mart merger bid ends

The former head of the Dairy Mart convenience store chain has lost his bid to acquire the company. Dairy Mart scrapped its merger bid after financing sources for DM Acquisition Corp. indicated they would not continue to support the transaction. In March, Dairy Mart directors approved the $22 million buyout offer from DM Acquisition, the investment company controlled by former Dairy Mart chief executive Robert Stein Jr.

Also in business ...

Bico Inc. said it acquired the worldwide marketing rights to a rapid HIV diagnostic test currently being evaluated at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. ... ServiceWare Technologies Inc. said it completed the divestiture of its content division, RightAnswers, to a new company led by departing ServiceWare executive Mark Finkel ... Ameritrade Holding Corp. will acquire rival National Discount Brokers Corp.'s online brokerage for $154 million in stock ... General Nutrition Centers said that beginning this month it would test a marketing and distribution strategy with the use of cart kiosks in 25 malls nationwide..

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