Originally created 01/01/00

Business briefs: Health insurers extend merger deal



ATLANTA -- The parent company of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia announced Thursday it has agreed to extend its merger agreement with WellPoint Health Networks Inc. to allow time for the courts to rule on a lawsuit by its shareholders.

The merger agreement was to have expired Friday, but Cerulean Cos. Inc. and WellPoint agreed to extend it to Dec. 31, 2000.

When Blue Cross and Blue Shield converted to a for-profit health insurance company in 1996, 70,000 of its policyholders accepted an offer of five shares each of stock in Cerulean, the newly created parent company.Apparel companies file with SECGREENVILLE, S.C. -- Delta Woodside Industries Inc. says the two apparel businesses it plans to spin off have filed registration statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Greenville-based textile company has said that DH Apparel Co. Inc. and Delta Apparel Inc. would operate as two separate publicly owned corporations. The spinoffs are expected to be complete in early March.

DH Apparel, based in Winder, Ga., produces and distributes boys' and men's casual sportswear. The company will be renamed Duck Head Apparel Co. Inc.

Delta Apparel, based in Duluth, Ga., supplies knit apparel, including T-shirts, sportswear and fleece goods.

Sprint strikes deals with unions

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sprint Corp. reached tentative three-year contract agreements with union locals in five states and hoped to reach agreement with a Florida local by a midnight strike deadline, the company said Thursday.

Contract talks were continuing, said Steve Dykes, a spokesman for Sprint headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.

"We've made significant progress in the last 24 hours, and we're still hopeful we can reach agreement by the midnight deadline," Mr. Dykes said.Gasoline-saving automobiles debutWARREN, Mich. -- General Motors Corp. says it has built a test sedan that's able to carry five people and travel about 80 miles on a gallon of gasoline.

But the GM Precept, developed as part of a joint effort with the federal government and other automakers, shows just how far the new technology remains from everyday use. GM's car may not go on sale for a few years. And even though Honda already sells cars that use a combination of fuel and electric motors -- and Toyota hits the market next summer -- these automakers will import only a few thousand to start.Stock wrap-upsThis week's wrap-up of stocks and mutual funds can be found in today's paper.

Normally published on Saturday and Sunday, this week's tables will run entirely today to make room for our year-end stock tables.

Year-end results will be published in Sunday's paper.