Originally created 10/26/02

Business briefs



AROUND TOWN

Merry Land Inc. reports profit drop

Augusta-based real estate company Merry Land Properties Inc. announced third-quarter funds from operation of $700,000, or 26 cents per share, down from $800,000, or 32 cents per share, from the same period last year.

Funds from operation, an accepted measure of profit for real estate companies, adds depreciation and other noncash charges to income.

The company said its decline in funds from operation stems from its sale of two apartment complexes earlier this year and a third last year.

BRIEFLY

Princess accepts Carnival takeover

LONDON - P&O Princess Cruises PLC accepted a sweetened $5.4 billion takeover offer from Carnival Corp., signaling that months of jockeying by the world's top three cruise companies might be nearing an end.

P&O Princess spent much of the past year fighting off Carnival's approaches after agreeing to merge with rival U.S. cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Carnival is the world's biggest cruise operator, and P&O Princess is No. 3. Royal Caribbean is No. 2.

Verizon profits from asset sales

NEW YORK - Phone giant Verizon Communications Inc. said Friday it earned $4.4 billion in the third quarter, largely from selling assets and investments, and boasted that long-distance and wireless services were helping it overcome falling revenue from basic residential lines.

Verizon's earnings followed several other telecommunications companies' reports this week that gave analysts little reason to believe the industry's turmoil is beginning to wane.