Business & City in Brief

Sprint forms cable alliance Sprint, the US long-distance telephone company, yesterday formed an alliance with three large cable television companies - Tele-Communications Inc, Comcast and Cox Enterprises - to offer local telephone services and a national wireless communication network.

The announcement was the latest in the communications sector ahead of a US government auction of airwaves for new telephone services under regulations that require disclosure of corporate ties and financing by Friday.

Under the four-party deal, Sprint gains access to the networks that cable companies have already deployed and to their valuable experience in dealing with local zoning laws. Sprint will own 40 per cent of the venture, TCI 30 per cent and Comcast and Cox 15 per cent each.

EU telecoms Competition in the European telecommunications market took another step forward with proposals by the European Union for liberalising infrastructure.

The plans, if implemented, will underpin existing proposals to open up the market for telecoms services by 1998. The EU said there should be free choice of the infrastructure used for the delivery of services.

Cadbury in talks Cadbury Schweppes confirmed it had had exploratory discussions with Dr Pepper, the US soft drinks manufacturer in which it holds a 26 per cent stake. Cadbury is thought to be interested in making a full bid for Dr Pepper.

Pounds 50m Shorts deal Shorts, the Belfast defence company, is to supply Kuwait with Starburst missiles in a deal worth up to pounds 50m. The contract was announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, Malcolm Rifkind, who was on an official visit to the emirate.

Stakis buys botel Stakis bought the Harewood Hotel in London for a total of pounds 6.1m. The 92-bedroom hotel, to be known as the Stakis London Harewood, was previously owned by City Hotels,a Brussels- based company, and managed by Club House Hotels.

World Markets New York: Lower than expected consumer confidence data reduced early falls.

The Dow Jones average closed 4.71 points lower at 3,850.59.

Tokyo: Last-minute selling took the Nikkei average down to close at the day's low of 19,732.15, off 120.22 points.

Hong Kong: A sell-off in index futures lowered the Hang Seng index 117.79 points to 9,246.5.

Sydney: Taking its cue from Wall Street, the All Ordinaries index fell 15.6 points to 2,021.8.

Bombay: With low-volume trade mainly confined to a few select shares, the index added 28.97 points to 4,357.34.

Johannesburg: Under further pressure from firmer local currencies, the overall index dipped 50 points to 5,701.

Frankfurt: Weak bonds and expectation of higher US interest rates combined to drive the DAX index down 50.75 (2.5 per cent) to 1,974.63.

Paris: Shares closed off their lows, but with the CAC-40 index 17.17 down at 1,824.42.

Zurich: Following other European bourses, the SPI surrendered 19.51 points to 1,654.05.

London: Report, page 30.

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