Banks get $1.5 billion from FDICThe fund...


Banks get $1.5 billion from FDIC

The fund that insures depositors at failed banks -- in the red just a few years ago -- was fully replenished at the end of May as bank failures remained at low levels, regulators said yesterday.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said that as a result it will give banks a $1.5 billion refund. That includes $1.49 billion to cover excess fees banks paid for deposit insurance from June through September, plus $19.1 million in interest.

Last month, the FDIC slashed the premiums most banks pay to insure deposits by 83 percent, a move that could save the industry $4.4 billion a year. The cut was retroactive to June 1.

Oncor sued by U. of California

Gaithersburg-based Oncor Inc. was sued in U.S. District court yesterday by the University of California and Vysis Inc. on charges of patent infringement. The suit seeks unspecified damages from Oncor, which markets tests used in diagnosing cancer and other diseases.

The suit claims that a diagnostic process, which was patented by university researchers, was licensed exclusively to Vysis in 1989. The process involves "methods and compositions for chromosome specific staining," according to the suit.

Glen Karta, director of intellectual property for Oncor, said the company had not seen the suit and could not comment. Attorneys for the university and Vysis were not available for comment.

Ward acquiring stake in Levitz

Montgomery Ward & Co. said yesterday that it plans to buy 19.6 percent of Levitz Furniture Inc. for $65 million and may increase its stake to 42 percent in a step that is expected to boost the department store chain's sales.

Montgomery Ward, a privately held chain of 380 stores, declined to say whether it intended to make Levitz a wholly owned subsidiary.

Omnicare buying Rite Aid unit

Cincinnati-based Omnicare Inc. said it acquired the nursing home pharmacy unit of Rite Aid Corp. for about $10 million.

The Rite Aid unit provides pharmaceuticals and related services for about 15,000 residents in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities through freestanding pharmacies and retail stores. The unit operates in 16 states, predominantly New York, West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, and has annual revenue of about $20 million.

Nielsen to rate cyberspace

Nielsen Media Research, the leader in measuring the popularity of television shows, and a high-tech start-up said yesterday that they were forming a venture to bring the ratings game to cyberspace.

Nielsen said its venture with Internet Profiles Corp. will help figure out just how many people are surfing the net and viewing ads.

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