Madison Square Garden deal nearBidding appeared to...


Madison Square Garden deal near

Bidding appeared to be nearing a climax last night in the contest for the Madison Square Garden sports and entertainment empire, in which a partnership of ITT Corp. and Cablevision Systems Inc. is competing against Liberty Media Corp., a cable television programmer.

The ITT-Cablevision team had the higher bid on the table, $1.05 billion, the New York Times reported yesterday, citing unnamed sources. But a deal was not certain, because Liberty Media, with a bid of about $1 billion, had not dropped out.

Viacom Inc., which owns the Garden, will probably announce a deal tomorrow or Monday, one executive familiar with the discussions said.

EAI stock rises on court ruling

Education Alternatives Inc. stock rose 16 percent yesterday after a Hartford, Conn., judge dismissed a teachers' union lawsuit aimed at halting negotiations between the school management firm and the city.

The company's stock closed at $16, up $2.25.

The decision clears what had been a potential stumbling block in Hartford's plan to become the nation's first school district to give a private company control of its public schools.

EAI operates nine Baltimore schools.

Judge halts Unitrin buyback

A Delaware judge yesterday ordered Unitrin Inc., an insurance and financial services company, to halt its stock buyback aimed at blocking a hostile takeover by American General Corp.

The 20-page decision by Vice Chancellor William Chandler calls for the ban on the share buyback until Sept. 27, "unless further extended." The lawsuit was filed last week by American General in Delaware Chancery Court. Unitrin is based in Chicago but incorporated in Delaware.

Pearlstine hinted for editorship

A former executive editor of the Wall Street Journal, Norman Pearlstine, reportedly is a leading candidate to succeed Jason McManus as editor in chief at Time Warner Inc.

Mr. Pearlstine would be the first outsider to hold the job if he were selected for the coveted post, which oversees magazines including Time, Sports Illustrated, People, Money and Fortune.

The Journal, the Washington Post and the Boston Globe each carried reports in yesterday's editions that Mr. Pearlstine was the likely choice for the job, citing unidentified sources.

Toyota to raise prices 3.5%

Toyota Motor Corp. said yesterday that prices on 1995-model Toyota cars and trucks sold in the United States would rise 3.5 percent, or an average of $606, from initial prices for 1994 models.

The increase appeared to be slightly higher than those announced by the Big Three automakers, which plan average

price increases of 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

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