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Dell offers sales by phoneDell Computer Corp.,...


Dell offers sales by phone

Dell Computer Corp., a pioneer in the sale of personal computers via direct mail, made a big push into the software distribution business yesterday with a bold sales program that offers one-stop shopping by phone. The company introduced a full range of PC software and peripheral products in a package called DellWare in a bid to to compete against computer retail outlets.

DellWare includes more than 650 products from leading vendors that can be ordered through a toll-free phone number for delivery the next business day. Dell stock rallied $1.625, or about 6 percent, to close at $29 a share on the NASDAQ market.

Bids for Continental increase

A five-way bidding war for Continental Airlines heated up yesterday as Mexico's leading airline allied itself with a group of Houston bidders and Air Canada sweetened its offer. Aeromexico said it would participate in a revised $400 million offer from a group led by Maxxam Inc. The company did not provide details but said the bid was an improvement over the Maxxam group's previous offer of $350 million, mostly in junk bonds, which had won tentative approval from Continental and a federal bankruptcy judge.

In Toronto, meanwhile, Air Canada and Texas-based Air Partners said they raised their bid for Continental by $25 million, to $425 million. The bid will include $100 million of capital and $325 million of debt securities.

Bush signs car-content bill

President Bush signed into law yesterday a bill introduced by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski that will provide car buyers with more information on where a car is produced and its content of North American parts.

The American Automobile Labeling Act requires that every car sold in this country have a label listing where the car's major components were made. The label will also list the percentage of the U.S. and Canadian content of the car, along with the names of countries contributing 15 percent or more of the vehicle's parts. The new law applies to all cars, light trucks and vans that roll off the assembly line on or after Oct. 1, 1994.

MBNA chief increases holdings

MBNA Corp., a credit card and banking company based in Delaware, said yesterday that Chairman and Chief Executive Alfred Lerner purchased an additional 500,000 MBNA common shares, bringing his total holdings to 5.5 million shares, or 11 percent of the total shares outstanding. MBNA Corp., a bank holding company, is the parent of MBNA America Bank N.A. Mr. Lerner is also chairman of MNC Financial Inc., a Baltimore-based banking company that sold MBNA in a public stock offering in January 1991.

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