GE woos Kemper shareholders
General Electric Co. yesterday took its fight to buy Kemper Corp. directly to Kemper's shareholders with a letter and proxy designed to outmaneuver Kemper managers who have twice rejected GE's $2.35 billion bid.
In a letter submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission for approval and mailed to shareholders with a proxy, GE accused Kemper management of putting itself ahead of shareholders in refusing to discuss GE's offer to buy the company for $55 a share in cash.
The letter urged Kemper shareholders to vote for GE's slate of four nominees for the Kemper board of directors.
General Mills slashes prices
General Mills Inc. yesterday announced price cuts averaging 11 percent on several of its cereals and said it would slash spending on cereal promotions by more than $175 million.
The company, which reported disappointing fiscal third-quarter results and has seen its stock slide to a three-year low, said the moves would result in a charge of 5 cents to 10 cents a share for its fourth quarter, ending May 29.
Some analysts said the move would force competitors to re-examine their pricing strategies.
"This isn't everyday low pricing, but it's a step toward it," said Roger Spencer of PaineWebber Inc.
Prices of oil futures jump
Oil futures prices swung sharply higher yesterday, settling at their highest close in nearly two months, amid talk of lower non-OPEC production and civil unrest in Algeria.
The increase also represented a rebound from last week's plunge, which sent prices close to $14 a barrel. Light sweet crude oil for delivery in May settled at $15.79 a barrel, up $1, at the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Manufacturers' profits rise
U.S. manufacturers saw higher profits in the fourth quarter than in the same quarter of 1992, the Commerce Department said yesterday.
After-tax profits averaged 3 cents per dollar of sales, adjusted for seasonal variations, up from 1.3 cents in the year-earlier quarter.
Durable goods manufacturers had profits of $8.5 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $3.6 billion in the 1992 quarter.
Town & Country buys complex
Town & Country Trust said yesterday that it acquired a 228-unit garden-style apartment complex in Newark, Del., for $12.3 million.
The purchase brings the Baltimore-based real estate investment trust's total first-quarter acquisitions to 488 units, or $28.18 million.
Town & Country owns 13,223 multifamily units at 34 properties in the mid-Atlantic region. Its stock closed down 12.5 cents yesterday, at $19.625.