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Utah lawyer favored for SECA veteran Utah...


Utah lawyer favored for SEC

A veteran Utah lawyer is the apparent front-runner for a Republican seat on the Securities and Exchange Commission, which will have three vacancies at the end of the month.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is formally backing Norman S. Johnson, 64, of Salt Lake City to join the five-member commission, Hatch spokesman Paul Smith said yesterday. Mr. Johnson said Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., forwarded his name to President Clinton in a May 16 letter.

Comsat considers stock sale

Comsat Corp. may finance its acquisition of the Quebec Nordiques ice hockey franchise through the sale of $200 million of preferred securities. The Bethesda-based communications and entertainment company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it would use some of the proceeds to reduce about $115 million of commercial paper, while the remaining funds may be used to meet general corporate requirements and pay down debt incurred to purchase the team.

Comsat, which owns the Denver Nuggets NBA basketball team, announced May 25 its agreement to buy the Nordiques for about $75 million. The company plans to move the hockey team to Denver in time for the 1995-96 NHL season.

Grace to spin off health unit

W. R. Grace & Co. plans to spin off, rather than sell, its health-care unit to avoid the hefty capital-gains taxes involved in a sale, institutional shareholders said yesterday.

In doing so, the chemical and health-care company has decided to reject a $3.5 billion purchase offer from Constantine Hampers, head of the unit, National Medical Care Inc., the holders said.

Board members at the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company reached their preliminary conclusion after reviewing the recommendations of two investment banks hired by the company, the holders said.

Seagram-MCA deal nearly done

Canadian beverage giant Seagram Co. is expected to complete its acquisition of MCA Inc. Monday, setting the stage for Hollywood power broker Michael Ovitz to join the entertainment company soon.

According to people familiar with the negotiations, Seagram is expected to issue a news release Monday announcing it completed the purchase of 80 percent of MCA from Japanese conglomerate Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. for $5.7 billion.

Netscape software going on sale

Netscape Communications Corp., maker of software that's helped popularize the World Wide Web portion of the Internet, will begin selling through stores for the first time.

Its new product will work with other features of the Internet, including electronic mail and discussion groups, and give people a choice of four Internet access companies, Netscape said yesterday.


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