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Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Thursday, November 21, 2002



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Billionaire wants Vivendi even after rejection

Paris >> Billionaire oilman Marvin Davis is pursuing a bid for Vivendi Universal SA's U.S. assets after the second-largest entertainment company rejected a $20 billion offer, saying the businesses weren't for sale.

Vivendi met with Davis, who owned Twentieth Century Fox in the 1980s, on Nov. 5, telling him a sale was "not on the agenda," company spokesman Alain Delrieu said. Negotiations to buy the unit, which includes Universal Studios and the world's top music company, will continue next year and may close within four months, Davis said in a statement.

Vivendi's shares rose 21 percent as investors said Davis's interest suggests the businesses may attract more bidders. The division accounts for half of the sales at Vivendi's media unit. Chief Executive Officer Jean-Rene Fourtou said in September he'll keep the assets and last week named Barry Diller to run them.

Vivendi's American depositary receipts, each representing one ordinary share, closed up $2.41, or 21 percent, at $13.80 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The ADRs have fallen 74 percent this year.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier today that Davis and a group of private-equity companies are prepared to pay $15 billion for the assets and assume $5 billion of debt.

Davis and Vivendi's Delrieu didn't confirm the price. People familiar with the company said he offered $20 billion. A spokesman for Davis declined to comment beyond the written statement.

Discover cash at First Hawaiian

Discover Financial Services said yesterday that First Hawaiian Bank has begun accepting the Discover Card for cash advances at the bank's 61 branches and more than 186 automated teller machine locations in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. First Hawaiian Bank is a subsidiary of Honolulu-based BancWest Corp., which has assets of $34 billion. BancWest is a subsidiary of Paris-based BNP Paribas SA.

Lanakila awarded $20,000 grant

Lanakila, a private nonprofit organization in Honolulu that assists individuals with physical, cognitive or age-related challenges, has received a $20,000 grant by the Black Fund, Robert Emens and Gwenfread Elaine Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation.

The grant was awarded to help Lanakila in fund-raising activities for programs that support adults with disabilities such as its adult services, work force development program, and Lanakila Meals on Wheels

STI tests targeting system

Honolulu-based Science & Technology International said yesterday it successfully tested a system used to detect military and other targets from a blimp. The system would be used for homeland security surveillance.

Hawaiian Airlines passenger volume up

Hawaiian Airlines said it carried 445,770 passengers last month, up 10.2 percent from 404,485 in October 2001, when air travel was still reeling from the terrorist hijackings of the previous month. New long-distance routes meant passengers traveled farther, pushing October revenue passenger miles (total miles flown times the number of passengers) up 25.5 percent to 412.2 million, compared to 328.4 million in October 2001.

Available seat miles were up 30.5 percent, however, at 551.8 million from a year-earlier 422.9 million. That growth in capacity cut into the airline's load factor, leaving 74.7 percent of its available seats filled last month, down from 77.7 percent.

The figures reported yesterday are for Hawaiian's entire system, bundling together interisland, mainland-Hawaii and Hawaii-South Pacific totals.

Daiei begins year-end sales campaign

TOKYO >> Struggling supermarket chain operator Daiei Inc. started its crucial year-end sale at its 271 stores nationwide this week.

Daiei, which will receive financial support from its three major creditor banks and the government-backed Development Bank of Japan, aims to boost sales during the year's biggest sales event.

At its Tsudanuma outlet in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture, Daiei invited baseball team Daiei Hawks manager Sadaharu Oh and held an event to pray for victory for the baseball team and the department store.

Daiei said it aims to increase its December sales on a same-store basis by 2 percent from a year earlier.


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[Hawaii Inc.]

NEW JOBS

>> Booklines Hawaii has hired Michael Story as warehouse manager. He extensive experience with warehouse management systems. 

>> Charter Funding of Hawaii has hired Kara Beltran and Tony Beltran as loan consultants in its Maui branch. Kara Beltran has been a loan consultant on Maui for 16 years. Tony Beltran has been in the lending industry about two years. Charter Funding of Hawaii has six offices throughout the state; three on Oahu, one on Maui and two on the Big Island.

PROMOTIONS

>> M&E Pacific Inc. has promoted Donald "Jim" Murray to senior project surveyor. He was previously senior land surveyor with the Hawaii consulting engineering firm. Murray has 50 years of experience in land surveying. He is responsible for managing all survey projects for M&E Pacific on the Big Island. 

>> Castle & Cooke Homes Hawaii Inc. has hired Ira Flores and David Hood as customer service representatives. They are responsible for servicing homes covered under warranty. Prior to joining the company, Flores worked with the U.S. Small Business Administration in Guam, Hawaii and California. Hood previously served as a maintenance worker at Hawaii Baptist Academy and owned his own home repair business. Castle & Cooke Inc., founded in 1851, develops master-planned communities.



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