News In Brief

Internet "portal" Yahoo! has held talks with online auctioneer eBay about a possible alliance or merger in response to America Online's planned purchase of Time Warner, reports said. Although no agreement appears imminent, a source close to the talks said there was a 50-50 chance of a "deep partnership" between the popular consumer Web sites, The Wall Street Journal and CNBC said. USA Today reported that Yahoo! also has held discussions with Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

In other deals:

*Phillips Petroleum Co. will pay between $6.5 billion and $7 billion for the Alaska oil assets of Atlantic Richfield (ARCO), a source familiar with the negotiations said. The sale is an effort to meet the antitrust objections of federal regulators to the purchase of ARCO by BP Amoco Plc.

*LHS Group Inc., an Atlanta-based supplier of billing and operations-support software, agreed to be bought by Sema Group Plc. of London, a provider of software for telecommunications. The deal is valued at $4.7 billion.

*Nortel Networks Inc., seeking to bulk up on optical network technology, said it would buy Xros for $3.25 billion. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company has developed a "switching" technology that uses tiny mirrors to guide light beams of data. Nortel is based in Brampton, Ontario.

*E-commerce software maker E.piphany Inc. announced it would acquire privately held Octane Software Inc. in a stock swap valued at about $3.2 billion. Both companies are based in San Mateo, Calif.

*Alcoa Inc. said it would acquire Cordant Technologies Inc. of Salt Lake City for $2.3 billion, giving the world's largest aluminum company a stronger presence in aerospace and automotives.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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