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"I thought, `Well, maybe I ought to just give him a good slap across the face.' And then I thought, `Well, I don't think you can slap the President of the United States like that."'

---Kathleen Willey, on 60 MinutesEDITED BY ROBERT McNATT & LARRY LIGHTReturn to top


GENERAL MOTORS' CLASS H STOCK, Hughes Electronics, has been on a rocket lately, climbing 10 points, to $45, in the past month. Why? According to sources close to the company, Hughes is in serious talks with aerospace giant Boeing.

The substance of the talks, say the sources, is a possible joint venture, merger, or acquisition of Hughes' satellite manufacturing capabilities. Both Hughes and GM adamantly deny that the company is for sale. Hughes CEO Michael Smith terms "preposterous" reports that Boeing has already conducted due diligence reviews.

A business combination centered on Hughes satellite capability could be immensely profitable. Boeing has no such capability now. Douglas Eby, president of Robert E. Torray, an investor in Hughes, says the market is just realizing the huge cash flow Hughes will reap as satellite communications soar. Estimates are that satellite manufacturing alone will be worth $121 billion worldwide in the next decade.

Both companies already work together. Hughes is set to use Boeing launch facilities for some of its satellites later this year. It is also bidding to supply Teledesic, a satellite communications network that uses Boeing as the prime contractor and will cost $9 billion.Seanna Browder EDITED BY ROBERT McNATT & LARRY LIGHTReturn to top


PERHAPS IT'S JUST A COINCIDENCE. CompUSA, the nation's largest computer retailer, has given PC World the heave-ho from its superstores and pulled its ads from the magazine, which has a circulation of 1.1 million.

PC World Editor-in-Chief Cathryn Baskin says her ad-sales folks told her CompUSA was peeved at two recent unflattering articles. One, in the April issue, bashes its PC repair services. Another, in February, gave it poor marks for in-store salesmanship and online PC ordering.

CompUSA pooh-poohs the idea that PC World's stories influenced its decisions. The chain stopped hawking PC World because of low sales. "It's a second-tier product that wasn't selling enough to warrant carrying," says CEO Jim Halpin. The chain still carries rival magazine PC--which has a slightly larger circulation.

As for the pulled ads, Halpin says marketing dollars are better spent elsewhere. "If we dropped every publication that wrote something unflattering about us," he says, "the only thing we'd have left [would be] the Bible."EDITED BY ROBERT McNATT & LARRY LIGHT Stephanie Anderson ForestReturn to top


NO ONE HAS EVER ACCUSED South Carolina of being home to progressive thought. The Confederate battle flag flies over its capitol. Its military school, The Citadel, fought to exclude women. And it has Strom Thurmond.

The image of the Palmetto State, though, may be changing, thanks to one of its illustrious--and wealthy--native daughters. On Mar. 27, the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, will become home to the first major U.S. business school named after a woman when it is christened the Darla Moore School of Business. Moore, a native of Lake City, S.C., and member of the undergrad class of '75, is donating a record $25 million to the B-school. The former banker is president of Rainwater Inc., an investment firm run by husband Richard Rainwater.

University President John Palms says naming the school for Moore is a step in the state's effort to be more progressive: "This university has always been the index to the ambition of this state. To name a major business school for a woman is a big deal."

Moore, who got her MBA from George Washington University, agrees. "They didn't have to name the school after me. There were other alternatives," she says. "But I think they wanted to make a quantum leap in the image they want to portray."Stephanie Anderson Forest EDITED BY ROBERT McNATT & LARRY LIGHTReturn to top

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