Business memo 07/01/02

Monday, July 1, 2002

Business counseling sessions available

The Small Business Development Center of Southeast Missouri State University will be conducting counseling sessions for area small business people who are planning business ventures.

The counselor, Gil Degenhardt, will be available from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. July 17 at the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, 1267 N. Mount Auburn Road. Call 335-3312 for an appointment. The counseling sessions are free and last about one hour.

Motorola Inc. to cut 7 percent of its jobs

CHICAGO -- Motorola Inc. will cut another 7,000 jobs, or 7 percent of its workforce, and incur $3.5 billion in charges in a cost-cutting move that it said virtually completes its massive two-year restructuring, the company said last week.

The cell-phone and semiconductor giant said it remains on track to return to operating profitability in the second half of the year.

As part of the restructuring, the struggling company has reduced its workforce from a peak of 150,000 employees in August 2000 to the roughly 100,000 people it now employs. The latest cut will reduce its work force to about 93,000, said spokesman Scott Wyman, adding that the reductions will begin in July and continue into 2003.

Judge dismisses Blockbuster lawsuit

SAN ANTONIO -- A federal judge last week dismissed an antitrust lawsuit against video rental giant Blockbuster Inc. and five Hollywood movie studios, saying the small video store operators who brought the suit did not present proof that anything illegal occurred.

U.S. District Judge Edward Prado ruled in favor of the defense in its request for a directed verdict after the plaintiffs rested their case.

The plaintiffs -- three small video store operators -- claimed in their 1999 lawsuit that the studios and Blockbuster conspired on special revenue-sharing deals in 1997 and 1998 to monopolize the video rental market and drive them out of business.

The defense maintained that there was no conspiracy, and that the studios were free to make similar revenue-sharing arrangements with any other video retailer.

Tyson loses judgment in trade-secrets case

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Tyson Foods Inc., the world's largest meat company, lost its bid last week to hold onto a $20 million legal judgment in a trade-secrets case against rival ConAgra Inc.

The Arkansas Supreme Court upheld a decision by Washington County Chancery Judge John Lineberger to throw out the judgment in accordance with its earlier ruling that Tyson failed to protect a feed formula from its competitor.

The Supreme Court agreed with Lineberger's decision but said the judge erred in the reasons he gave for it.

The high court said the Tyson formula was not a trade secret and Tyson didn't have to have a post-employment agreement with its employees to protect its secrets, as Lineberger apparently concluded.

Delta disallows corporate discounts on airfare

NEW YORK -- Delta Air Lines is raising the cost of airfare for business travelers by not allowing corporate discounts on certain reduced fares.

Delta's decision mirrors the action in November by Northwest Airlines, which no longer lets corporate clients use their discount when purchasing cheap fares aimed at leisure travelers.

Corporate travel managers who received notice of the change from Delta said last week that it probably would not go into effect until August. A spokeswoman for Atlanta-based Delta refused to comment on the change, which was first reported by industry publication Business Travel News.

Hearst Corp. launching women's magazine

NEW YORK -- In the latest attempt to tap the power of TV to sell magazines, Hearst Corp. is launching a women's magazine based on programming from the Lifetime cable channel, which it co-owns along with The Walt Disney Co.

The new magazine, to be called simply Lifetime, is set to debut next March with a circulation of 500,000, which is fairly large for a new magazine. It will go to a monthly schedule by September 2003.

Hearst is hoping that like O, The Oprah Magazine, Lifetime will hook readers based on its strong presence on television. Lifetime is now the top-rated cable channel in prime time, and will be used to promote the new magazine.

-- From staff, wire reports

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