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Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Monday, June 19, 2000

Radisson to market renovated resort

The Florida company that bought the former Outrigger Kauai Beach Hotel in April said today it has signed a marketing agreement with Radisson Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The hotel's name has been changed to the Radisson Kauai Beach Resort.

Driftwood, which bought the beachfront hotel, about three miles from Lihue Airport, for about $21 million on April 4, will manage the hotel and it will be marketed under the Radisson brand.

Driftwood has undertaken a $9 million renovation due for completion Nov. 1, which includes the addition of a resort spa and fitness center. The Radisson brand will be used in international marketing for the 350-room property, said David Buddemeyer, president of Driftwood Ventures, an independent hotel owner and operator based in West Palm Beach.

Microsoft wins round in court

WASHINGTON -- In a victory for Microsoft Corp., the U.S. Court of Appeals, today rejected a request by the government that it stay out of the huge antitrust case. In doing so, the court turned down a Justice Department motion to summarily dismiss Microsoft's requested stay of a federal judge's June 7 order to break the software-maker into two companies and restrict its business practices.

The department had sought to have the appellate court bypassed in the appeals process following U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson's earlier this month. The department wants the case sent directly to the Supreme Court for review. However, the appellate court did say that in the event that Jackson sent the case directly to the nation's highest court, it would stand aside.

In other news . . .

Bullet PARIS -- Vivendi SA offered to buy Seagram Co. for $40.2 billion in stock and debt to gain the Canadian company's Polygram records and Universal Studios movies as it seeks to broaden its Internet and television services, people familiar with the companies told Bloomberg News. It plans to sell Seagram's liquor unit to cover Seagram's $6.6 billion in debt, the sources said.

Of Mutual Concern

News for mutual fund investors


New Soros fund designed to take safe route

LONDON -- Legendary financier George Soros said that his new flagship fund would start with assets of up to $6.5 billion but would aim to consistently knock out steady returns rather than spectacular, but risky, results.

The new Quantum Endowment Fund, which will replace the Quantum Emerging Growth Fund and the Quantum Funds, will debut July 1 with assets of around $6 billion to $6.5 billion, having suffered redemptions of up to $3 billion, less than some had feared.

Soros told journalists in London that roughly half the assets of the new fund would be invested in macro and arbitrage plays and half in stock-picking strategies but that an increasing proportion of his $11 billion under management would be allocated to private equity and real estate.

Outside investors will manage about half of Quantum Endowment, he said.

The revamped structure is intended to be less risky than in the old high-flying days of the man credited with driving the British pound out of the European exchange rate mechanism.

"In my old age I have become somewhat conservative," the 69-year-old Soros said.

"But we will probably have a more mediocre performance because of the multimanager structure, because to some extent managers can cancel each other out."

Hungarian-born Soros in April announced he was overhauling his Quantum Fund -- then the world's largest -- as well as the Quota Fund after losses related to investments in Europe's single currency and positions in volatile technology stocks.

Soros said redemptions had totaled up to $3 billion following the changes, less than the estimates of up to $6 billion cited in earlier newspaper reports.

Orbitex to introduce utility fund next month

NEW YORK -- Orbitex Management Inc., plans to introduce a new mutual fund that invests in utility shares, capitalizing on one of the market's best performing sectors.

The Orbitex Infrastructure Fund, to be introduced in July, will invest at least half its assets in utility shares and the rest in "infrastructure," such as telecommunications companies.

As states deregulate utilities and investors abandon speculative Internet shares, the Standard & Poor's utilities index has been the year's best performers among 11 economic sectors that S&P tracks.

"With this volatility, investors are incredibly skittish," said Ken Hoffman, who will manage the fund. "A lot of people are going back to investing 101 -- companies that have good earnings."

Utilities are traditionally known as slow-growth and stodgy.

"With deregulation, there are a lot of good growth stories in this industry," he said. "They're able to increase their margins and grow through consolidation."

Loomis Sayles to unveil big-cap fund in August

BOSTON -- Loomis Sayles & Co., a Boston-based fund management company, will introduce a new fund in August to invest in big-cap stocks.

The new fund, known as the Research Fund, will invest in up to 60 companies with large market values. It will invest mostly in U.S. companies and may invest up to 20 percent of its portfolio in foreign companies. The fund's investment objective is long-term growth.

Lauriann Kloppenburg, 39, the company's director of equity research, will manage the fund.

To participate, retail investors must have a minimum of $5,000, while institutions must have $250,000.

Fidelity boosts its stake of Advanced Micro to 11%

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Advanced Micro Devices Inc. shareholder Fidelity Investments has increased its stake in the chipmaker to 11 percent, according to regulatory filings.

In a filing, Fidelity said it now holds 16.9 million shares, up from 1.5 million shares at the end of March.

Advanced Micro, the best-performing stock in the S&P 500 index this year, has been riding a wave of demand for personal-computer processors and has been able to capitalize on missteps by rival Intel Corp.

Intel has had problems catching up with an unexpected surge in demand, and analysts expect Advanced Micro, up 186.8 percent this year through last week, to soak up the excess.

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