U.S. eases demands on MicrosoftThe Justice Department...


U.S. eases demands on Microsoft

The Justice Department yesterday withdrew a demand for more information about Microsoft Corp.'s new on-line service and said it would decide whether to bring an antitrust suit based on evidence already gathered.

The department has been considering whether to bring a case against the forthcoming Microsoft Network because of complaints over the computer software giant's plan to make one-touch access to the on-line service a feature of the Windows 95 operating system, which goes on sale Aug. 24.

Merrill to buy British brokerage

Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. will buy Smith New Court PLC, a large British securities firm, for about $842 million in cash, creating the world's largest stockbrokerage, the companies said yesterday.

Merrill, already the largest securities firm in the United States, bested Germany's Commerzbank AG in bidding for Smith New Court.

The companies said the combined firm would have the largest stock research team in the world, with about 370 analysts. It also would be the leading underwriter of new stock issues and the largest trader of U.S. and British stocks and U.S. stocks of foreign companies based in Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Westinghouse, CBS in talks

The chairmen of Westinghouse Electric Corp. and CBS Inc. are negotiating the terms of a formal takeover offer by Westinghouse, people familiar with the talks said.

The companies have been meeting to discuss Westinghouse's expected $5 billion bid for the network, but an offer isn't likely until next week, one executive said.

Westinghouse Chairman Michael H. Jordan and CBS Chairman Laurence Tisch met for about six hours yesterday at the midtown Manhattan offices of Loews Corp., which Mr. Tisch also heads.

"We're just up there visiting our friend Mr. Tisch," Mr. Jordan said after the meeting. "We have a lot of business with him -- joint ventures and other things." As for a takeover, "those are just rumors," he said.

People familiar with the talks said the unresolved issues include exactly how much Westinghouse is willing to pay for CBS and the speed with which a takeover could be completed.

AAI awarded rail car work

AAI Corp. has been awarded a $4.1 million contract to produce rail car components for a commuter train serving the Philadelphia area.

The contract comes from ABB Transportation Pty Ltd., an Australian manufacturer of mass transit systems.

AAI is to produce frame components used to support the motors and bolster beams that hold the wheels of the rail cars. The work will be performed at its factory in Cockeysville.

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