In Business This Week: Headliner
Peter Quick: Young Blood for an Old Exchange
Can Peter Quick jump-start the 89-year-old American Stock Exchange? Named president of the Amex on May 23, the 44-year-old Quick is charged with reviving the exchange, which has lost such key listings as Hasbro and Viacom.
Quick, a former executive at Quick & Reilly, the national discount brokerage firm co-founded by his father, Leslie C. Quick Jr., must also beef up the Amex' already successful exchange-traded funds business. Amex exchange-traded funds are based on stock indexes and act like mutual funds, but can be bought or sold all day long like a stock. "There's tremendous potential for index shares both domestically and globally," Quick said.
Quick also faces some obstacles. Just as the Amex plans to expand its options trading, it's involved in a regulatory probe of the nation's options trading business. And it faces competition from such mutual-fund firms as State Street and Vanguard Group, which may eat away at the Amex' niche in exchange-traded funds. Quick has some fast work ahead.By Marcia Vickers in New York; Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top
Can MCI Make the Connection?
As far as MCI WorldCom is concerned, the Justice Dept. has got it all wrong. In closed-door meetings with Antitrust Chief Joel Klein, Bernard Ebbers, MCI WorldCom CEO, has spent the past week disputing a Justice staff report that advises against his company's $115 billion purchase of Sprint. Specifically, Ebbers challenges the conclusion that WorldCom and Sprint charge among the highest long-distance rates and garner most of their business from disgruntled AT&T customers. Rarely are such basic facts contested so late in antitrust reviews. The dispute portends a long struggle over the merger's approval. No wonder industry observers are expecting talks between the two to last at least through June.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top
Weapons: Untying the Red Tape
After months of wrangling, the State Dept. and Pentagon have agreed to slash the red tape that ties up exports by U.S. weapons makers. The new rules would make it easier for the U.S. and its allies to use compatible equipment. The regs would allow a single license for many weapons systems, rather than separate licenses for components. And if Britain and Australia meet standards in areas such as export controls, some sales to those countries wouldn't need licenses at all. The new blueprint also would expedite exports of satellite parts and technical data.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top
Chase Chases Another Banker
Chase Manhattan continued adding to its might in investment banking when it said on May 24 it would buy Beacon Group, a 120-employee shop. Chase, with $400 billion in assets, has persisted in a "nibble rather than gulp" approach to the business, despite rumors it would buy a powerhouse such as Merrill Lynch. In April, Chase acquired London's sleepy Robert Fleming Holdings, following its September purchase of tech boutique Hambrecht & Quist. What shocked observers about Wednesday's deal, though, was news that Beacon's senior partner, Geoffrey T. Boisi, would succeed Chase's much-lauded Jimmy Lee as head of investment banking. Although the bank says the move was prompted by Lee's desire to spend more time with his family, analysts say it could be a sign his H&Q acquisition is underperforming. Chase spokesman Jim Finn notes that first-quarter profits at the H&Q unit exceeded expectations.Edited by Anne NewmanReturn to top