Originally created 04/22/00

Business briefs



Chain will announce closings in 2 weeks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Winn Dixie, which ranks 10th in sales among food retailers, expects to publicly announce in about two weeks the 114 of its 1,189 stores that will be closing, spokesman Mickey Clerc said. But speculation among stock analysts is that a lot of the closures may come from the Atlanta, Tampa and Louisville divisions, which are struggling to retain market share against other chains.

The two-week delay is to give those stores and affected employees sufficient notice, Mr. Clerc said, adding that job cuts will come from all levels of the company.

Harold Green, marketing director for the Charlotte division of Winn-Dixie, said the closings will occur within the company's next fiscal year.

Markets close for Good Friday

There are no markets listing today since financial markets in the United States and many other countries were closed Friday in observance of Good Friday.

However, a weekend wrap-up of 3,500 mutual funds can be found in Sunday's editions as usual.

Wireless boosts business' earnings

ATLANTA -- BellSouth's first-quarter earnings rose 62.8 percent to $1 billion as the telecommunications giant added nearly 1.3 million customers to its wireless business, the company announced Thursday.

Per-share income for the three months ending March 31 was 53 cents, up 65.6 percent from a year ago when it was 32 cents on earnings of $615 million. Its stock closed at $50 1/16 Thursday, up 9/16 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Group buys struggling automaker

PARIS -- Automotive group Renault SA on Friday reached an agreement to buy bankrupt Samsung Motors Inc., giving the French carmaker access to the South Korean market, French media reported.

The deal, which comes after four months of talks, must be ratified by a committee of creditors Monday. Samsung has been under court receivership since mid-1999, with $4 billion in debt and $3 billion in assets.

Jury says Disney coerced executive

LOS ANGELES -- A federal jury Friday found that the Walt Disney Co. coerced a dying executive into signing away millions of dollars in benefits.

Jurors disregarded Disney's argument that Robert Jahn gave up the benefits to avoid being fired for taking kickbacks.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson will decide later how much Disney owes Mr. Jahn's estate.

Mr. Jahn's estate sued Disney, accusing the company of forcing him to relinquish $2.2 million in stock options, life insurance and deferred compensation. In exchange, according to testimony from Disney witnesses, the company agreed to let Mr. Jahn keep his medical benefits and agreed not to expose him for allegedly taking millions of dollars in kickbacks from vendors.

Mr. Jahn was a senior vice president at Disney Motion Pictures & Television Co., in charge of making trailers and TV ads for Disney films. He died of AIDS-related complications in 1996.