<BREAKFAST WITH THE FOOL>
Tuesday, January 19, 1999
"There is more credit and satisfaction in being a first-rate truck driver than a tenth-rate executive." -- B.C. Forbes
@Home to Buy Excite
Internet portal and search engine company Excite (Nasdaq: XCIT) has agreed to be acquired by high-speed cable-access Internet services provider @Home Corp. (Nasdaq: ATHM) in an all-stock deal valued at about $6.7 billion. Excite shareholders will receive 1.041902 @Home shares for each Excite share. Excite will become a subsidiary of @Home, with its CEO George Bell remaining at the helm and joining the @Home board. The merger also forges an alliance with AT&T's (NYSE: T) WorldNet Internet service provider as the telecommunications giant completes its pending acquisition of @Home parent Tele-Communications (Nasdaq: TCOMA).
In an interview this morning on CNBC, @Home Chairman and CEO Tom Jermoluk said that the price is a 30% premium to Excite's 30-day trading average and that the acquisition will be immediately accretive to @Home earnings. He added that the company is acquiring Excite to expand its consumer reach and obtain Excite's Web technology. Excite has 20 million registered users and more than 17 million unique visitors per month.
Excite CEO George Bell, who also appeared on CNBC, said Excite found the deal appealing because @Home has a wide distribution network through its cable partners and because "broadband's going to be a winner." Excite chose @Home over Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) due to the rapid pace of growth at @Home and because the deal allows for personalization of the Web experience across all bands and devices.
@Home and Excite will hold a press conference today at 10 a.m. ET. A live Webcast will be available on Excite.com and Home.net. A replay will be available for 48 hours starting today at 2 p.m. ET at (888) 203-1112, ID# 610146.
(The Fool's Rule Breaker Portfolio bought $25,000 worth of @Home shares early last month. See the Buy Report for more information about the company.)
News to Go
AirTouch Communications (NYSE: ATI) agreed to be acquired by Vodafone Group (NYSE: VOD) of Britain for $97 a share in stock and cash, based on Friday's close. That's a 14.6% premium to AirTouch's last closing price of $83 3/8. The combined company, to be called Vodafone AirTouch PLC, will be the world's largest wireless phone company, serving more than 23 million proportionate cellular and PCS customers. Vodafone shares jumped 14% yesterday in U.K. trading.
The world's largest aircraft maker Boeing (NYSE: BA) plans to cut its monthly F-15 production almost in half and eliminate jobs at its St. Louis plant as its contracts with the U.S. Air Force, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are about to run out. Boeing, which now makes 3 1/2 F-15s per month, expects to cut the production rate to two per month by November.
Agricultural biotech firm Monsanto Co. (NYSE: MTC) announced it has stopped the development of two experimental heart drugs that were in advanced testing. The company said it ended testing of xemilofiban and orbofiban because they didn't show a significant benefit in reducing death and heart attacks.
Regional phone company U.S. West (NYSE: USW) will sell around 500,000 access lines, about 3% of its total 16.5 million lines, to raise money to increase its investment in "new technologies and services."
Insurance protection and services company Chubb Corp. (NYSE: CB) said it expects Q4 operating earnings of around $0.90 a share, down from $1.01 for the same period last year, as "inadequate pricing" in its standard commercial businesses undermined profitability. Analysts were forecasting Q4 EPS of $1.08.
More Earnings Announcements:
Bank One Corp. (NYSE: ONE) -- Q4 EPS: $0.88 (before charges) vs. $0.75 last year; estimate: $0.88
Clorox (NYSE: CLX) -- fiscal Q2 EPS: $0.55 vs. $0.47 last year; estimate: $0.54
Delta (NYSE: DAL) -- fiscal Q2 EPS: $1.29 vs. $1.20 last year; estimate: $1.26
D.R. Horton Inc. (NYSE: DHI) -- fiscal Q1 EPS: $0.52 vs. $0.31 last year; estimate: $0.43
Enron Oil & Gas Co. (NYSE: EOG) -- Q4 EPS: $0.06 vs. $0.28 last year; estimate: $0.05
Honeywell (NYSE: HON) -- Q4 EPS: $1.64 (before charges) vs. $1.38; estimate: $1.63
LNR Property (NYSE: LNR) -- Q4 EPS: $0.57 vs. $0.37 (pro forma) last year; estimate: $0.53
Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) -- Q4 EPS: $0.86 vs. $1.15 last year; estimate: $0.64
Northwest Airlines (Nasdaq: NWAC) -- Q4 EPS: loss of $1.49 (before charges) vs. profit of $1.06; estimate: loss of $1.51
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