Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Monday, March 8, 1999

MasterCard taps Honolulu company

Honolulu-based Digital Island Inc., which operates a global electronic business network that bypasses congestion on the Internet, has signed MasterCard International as a new customer.

The value of the contract was not disclosed.

Digital Island will provide local Web-hosting and connectivity around the world for MasterCard's Web sites. MasterCard had planned to set up localized versions of its World Wide Web pages and its automated teller machine locator system. Instead, it opted for Digital Island's Virtual Server Destination system, which MasterCard officials said will provide a better service to its customers.

BMC Software buys Israeli company

HOUSTON -- BMC Software Inc., a maker of software for networked computers, said it agreed to acquire Israeli software developer New Dimension Software Ltd. for $52.50 a share, or more than $650 million. BMC, based in Houston, said the deal will complement its pending acquisition of software developer Boole & Babbage Inc.

In other news . . .

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Fortis agreed to buy American Bankers Insurance Group Inc. for $2.8 billion in cash and assumed debt, making the Dutch-Belgian financial company the biggest insurer of consumer and credit-card loans in the United States.



News for mutual fund investors

Fidelity plans to merge two similar bond funds

NEW YORK -- Fidelity Investments plans to merge a pair of similar corporate bond funds in a move intended to reduce duplication among the 55 bond funds it manages.

In an SEC filing, the company said it would merge the Spartan Short-Term Bond Fund into the Fidelity Short-Term Bond Fund, pending a June 16 shareholder vote. The combined fund would have lower expenses guaranteed through June 30, 2001, and similar investment policies, according to the filing. Fidelity has agreed to limit the combined fund's total operating expenses to 0.63 percent of average net assets. Andrew Dudley currently manages both funds and is expected to manage the combined fund.

Warburg Pincus mulls offering more funds

Warburg Pincus Asset Management Inc., which is being acquired by Switzerland's Credit Suisse Group, said it is considering a plan to introduce a broader array of stock funds that concentrate assets in specific industries.

Warburg Pincus has made no definitive decision on whether to open new so-called sector funds and no formal plan has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to Bloomberg News.

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