News In Brief

The prospects for a successful takeover effort by British mobile phone giant Vodafone AirTouch Plc. of Germany's Mannesmann AG conglomerate were put at "55 to 60 percent" by the former's chief executive. But Chris Gent told a Frankfurt newspaper his company's new offer - $128 billion in stock, believed to be the largest in history - would not be increased if Mannesmann's shareholders turn it down. The bid is expected to be sent to shareholders in about three weeks. Vodafone upped the offer Friday from an initial $103 billion. But Mannesmann's officers again rejected it, and, reports said, appear to have the across-the-board support of German political leaders.

The largest US marketer of cranberries, Ocean Spray Inc., will remain a cooperative but make major structural changes, a spokesman said. The company had considered putting itself up for sale or joining a competitor in a partnership. Lakeville, Mass.-based Ocean Spray, which is owned by 900 growers, has struggled financially since 1996, with the price per barrel of harvested berries slumping from $60.53 to between $20 and $28 because of a supply glut and stagnant consumption.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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