Sale of QVC approved by FTCTwo of...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Sale of QVC approved by FTC

Two of the nation's largest cable companies received permission from federal regulators yesterday to acquire home shopping channel operator QVC Inc. for $1.42 billion.

The Federal Trade Commission voted 4-0 to close an investigation into the acquisition by the nation's No. 1 cable company, Tele-Communications Inc., and Comcast Corp., which is No. 4.

The FTC's investigation of the deal was prompted by concerns that it would violate antitrust laws. TCI controls QVC's closest competitor, Home Shopping Network Inc. FTC commissioners approved the deal over staff objections.

Comsat unit buys Florida firm

Comsat RSI, the manufacturing arm of Bethesda-based Comsat Corp., said yesterday that it has acquired Intelesys, a Melbourne, Fla.-based company that makes small satellite dishes and related electronics. Neither the terms of the purchase nor Intelesys' annual sales were disclosed.

Helen Peterson, a spokeswoman for Comsat RSI, said the purchase is strategically important for her company but that it was not nearly as large as other recent Comsat acquisitions. She said Intelesys' very small aperture satellites (VSATs) are typically used for such purposes as remote monitoring of pipeline or electric utility equipment.

Polaroid to cut up to 600 jobs

Polaroid Corp. launched a major restructuring yesterday, announcing plans to slash 400 to 600 jobs, or 5 percent of its worldwide work force, slow shipments to dealers and speed up its expansion in emerging markets.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based company said the program will result in a one-time charge of $40 million to $60 million in the first quarter.

Quaker Oats to sell sideline

Quaker Oats Co. yesterday announced the sale of its European pet food business to Dalgety PLC in a $700 million deal that will give the British company the Felix cat food and Fido dog food brands.

Quaker's European pet foods business is the second-largest supplier of branded pet foods in Europe, with sales of $800 million.

Trak raises share price offer

Trak Auto Corp. said yesterday it has increased the price at which it's offering to buy shares in a tender offer to $20.50 from $17.50.

The Landover-based auto-parts retailer, which is controlled by Dart Group Corp., also said it's removing a condition that at least 1.5 million shares be tendered. Instead, it said it would buy back as many shares as are tendered, up to a maximum of 1.5 million.

The buyback offer, which was scheduled to expire Monday, has been extended until Feb. 21.

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