In Business This Week: HEADLINER: HERBERT HAFT
RELIEF FOR A POISONED DART GROUP
The end may be in sight for the Haft family feud. On Apr. 22, Herbert Haft, 76, reached a conditional settlement to give up control of Dart Group and its three subsidiaries, Shoppers Food Warehouse, Trak Auto, and Crown Books.
Herbert triggered the battle in 1993 when he fired son Robert from Dart management and replaced him with his other son, Ronald. There followed a series of suits in which the Hafts battled for control of Dart. Herbert and wife Gloria divorced. The Haft real estate company filed for bankruptcy protection.
Under the tentative deal, Herbert will give up his post as chairman of Dart and sell back all his stock and options netting him roughly $42 million. Talks are under way to resolve the remaining disputes between Dart and Haft's children and former wife, including bringing the real estate company out of bankruptcy--and possibly selling off pieces of the empire. "This settlement is good for Dart because it will eliminate the involvement of the Haft family," says analyst Robert E. Robotti. And it's not bad for Herbert, either.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLAND By Amy BarrettReturn to top
HEWLETT-PACKARD JUMPS INTO THE NET
WHILE OTHER SILICON Valley companies have made splashy announcements about their Internet ambitions, Hewlett-Packard has been relatively subdued. It sells network-server computers and other behind-the-scenes gear. Now, the $38.4 billion computer giant is making a big statement about its plans for commerce on the Net. On Apr. 23, the company announced plans to pay $1.18 billion for VeriFone, the leading supplier of credit-verification systems used by merchants. HP expects to sell systems that include its computers and VeriFone's readers and secure-transaction technology. These bundles could be attractive to companies that need bulletproof setups for Net commerce.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
SAKS FIFTH AVENUE MAY BAG BARNEY'S
CAN SWANK SAKS FIFTH Avenue and hip Barney's mix? That was Fashion Avenue's question on Apr. 22, when Saks Holdings disclosed its long-expected bid to buy bankrupt Barney's for $290 million. The offer, in conjunction with Barney's lead creditor, the Japanese department store giant Isetan, now requires a nod from U.S. Bankruptcy Court. "The combination of Saks and Isetan represents the strongest possible pairing of retailing and real estate expertise," the companies said. Barney's comment on the bid: "It's being reviewed."EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top
SNAPPLE CLAIMS A VICTIM AT QUAKER
THE SNAPPLE SNAFU HAS come home to roost. Just weeks after agreeing to sell its tea and juice-drink unit for $300 million, $1.4 billion less than it paid in 1994, Quaker Oats said on Apr. 23 that it's looking for a new CEO. William Smithburg, who has held the post for 16 years, is expected to stay on until a replacement is found. The news came as Quaker announced stronger-than-expected first-quarter results for its Gatorade and cereal businesses--and one-time restructuring charges of up to $100 million. "I want to turn the keys over to my successor with the machine running very well," Smithburg told analysts. Quaker stock closed that day at 39 7/8, up 1 5/8.EDITED BY KELLEY HOLLANDReturn to top