Prudential offers to settle suitPrudential Securities offered...


Prudential offers to settle suit

Prudential Securities offered yesterday to pay $120 million in cash to investors to settle a class action lawsuit over oil and gas limited partnerships sold in the 1980s. However, some investors' attorneys scorned it as too small.

The settlement offer, which was expected, regards a federal class-action suit filed in Louisiana in 1991. Prudential sold partnerships in 12,000 oil and gas wells in 22 states in the 1980s. About 130,000 investors who sunk $1.4 billion into the partnerships were told they would receive 15 percent to 20 percent returns on their investment, according to the suit. Instead, they got less than half of that, the suit said.

Bell expects merger by year-end

A top Bell Atlantic Corp. executive said the company was convinced its proposed merger with Tele-Communications Inc. will be completed by year-end. Bell Atlantic executives also said they are in talks with companies such as NCube, which makes supercomputers, and Oracle Systems Corp. as potential service providers for the network.

Kmart may spin off stakes

Kmart Corp., the nation's No. 2 retailer, may spin off stakes in its specialty retailing chains in order to boost the value of its stock, said Thomas Murasky, chief financial officer.

Mr. Murasky, speaking to the Toronto Society of Financial Analysts, said its OfficeMax office-products, Borders bookstore, Builder's Square home-improvement store and the Sports Authority sporting goods chains are all candidates for initial public offerings. "We will probably [take action] in the next four to five months," he said.

Euro Disney cuts hotel prices

Euro Disney is cutting prices at some hotels and restaurants in hopes of attracting bigger crowds to the money-losing theme park.

Starting in January, prices for the cheapest hotel rooms will drop from about $80 a night to $54 for four people. Rates at mid-priced hotels also will be cut, while those at the park's two expensive hotels will not change, Euro Disney said.

Apple profits plunge in quarter

Apple Computer Inc., hit by stiff competition in the personal computer market, reported yesterday a plunge in profits in its fiscal fourth quarter. The earnings were in line with predictions by Wall Street analysts, who had been expecting the sharp fall in profits to the near break-even level.

Apple's earnings dropped to $2.66 million, or 2 cents a share, in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Sept. 24, from $97.6 million, or 81 cents a share in the year-ago quarter. But revenues reached record levels, rising to $2.14 billion from $1.77 billion a year earlier.

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