Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Tuesday, April 6, 1999

Sales by check up 1.5 percent in isles

Hawaii retail sales rose last month, with purchases paid for by checks up 1.5 percent from March 1998, according to TeleCheck Services Inc., a check-guarantee service. Easter was earlier this year, shifting some holiday buying into March, TeleCheck said. The company said 37 percent of retail purchases are by check. Nationally, March check purchases were up 2.1 percent.

Dell throws weight behind Linux system

ROUND ROCK, Texas -- Dell Computer Corp., the top supplier of corporate personal computers, today became the latest computer maker to throw its support to Linux operating system, an alternative to Microsoft Corp.'s Windows software. In a series of announcements, Dell said it had taken an equity stake in Red Hat Software Inc., a leading supplier of Linux software, and was now offering to install Linux on a number of its computers. Dell is the world's No. 1 direct supplier of personal computers.

Dell's investment in Red Hat follows stakes by a variety of computer industry heavyweights in the privately held Durham, N.C., firm, including Compaq Computer Corp., International Business Machines Corp., Intel Corp. and America Online Inc.'s Netscape business.

Murdoch to control cable TV venture

NEW YORK -- Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch is expanding his reach in cable television in the United States, buying out most of partner John Malone's interest in a joint venture for $1.4 billion.

News Corp., the media conglomerate controlled by Murdoch, will take over substantially all of the operations of the Fox/Liberty Network, which was founded three years ago as a venture between News Corp.'s Fox Entertainment Group and Malone's Liberty Media Group. Under the deal, announced last night, News Corp. will gain control of regional sports network Fox Sports Net, the entertainment network FX and other related businesses.

Liberty will receive about 51.8 million U.S.-listed shares of News Corp., worth about $1.43 billion based on yesterday's close.

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