News In Brief

OH, AND THANKS AGAIN If a Ukrainian businessman had any concern that the 50 pagers he'd just bought for the employees on his staff would work, he didn't have long to wait. Our guy was on the way back to his office - and, in fact, was only 100 yards away - when he found out they did: every one of them. He'd put the devices on the back seat of his car and was so startled when they all went off at once that he made an unscheduled stop ... against a street-light pole. He wasn't injured, and damage to the car apparently was far from total. The reason the shrieking pagers unnerved him? A message from the seller: "Congratulations on your purchase!"

BOBBY SAYS HI In London, criminals not yet in custody are receiving cards in the mail on the anniversary of their birth. They say, "Thinking of you on your birthday." Who's being so thoughtful to the drug dealers, thieves, and others? The police, who also designed the cards with a photo of a jail-cell door. Said a spokesman: "We want [them] to know we know who they are and what they're doing."

Recent oil, telecom deals reshuffle list of top mergers When Britain's Vodafone Group and AirTouch Communications of San Francisco came to a $65 billion accord last Friday, it was the second such deal this month to make the list of biggest mergers and acquisitions ever announced. The earlier Mobil/Exxon deal has been valued at about $76.6 billion, which puts it at the top of the list. The AirTouch-Vodafone agreement is the seventh-largest. The top 10 merger/ takeovers, and the value of each (in billions):

1. Mobil/Exxon $76.6

2. Citicorp/Travelers 72.6

3. Ameritech/SBC Comm 72.4

4. GTE Corp/Bell Atlantic 70.9

5. Tele-Comm/AT&T 70.0

6. BankAmerica/NationsBank 61.6

7. AirTouch/Vodafone 60.0

8. Amoco/BP 54.0

9. MCI/WorldCom 43.4

10. Chrysler/Daimler-Benz 40.5 - Reuters

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