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Merrill's Bronx Bomber


In Business This Week: HEADLINER: DAVID KOMANSKY

MERRILL'S BRONX BOMBER

David Komansky, 57, is a salesman's salesman. A University of Miami dropout, he has the common touch and street smarts that come from growing up in the Bronx. The mix has played well at Merrill Lynch, and at yearend Komansky will take over as the CEO.

Komansky has spent all of his 28-year career at Merrill, beginning as a broker in the firm's Forest Hills (N.Y.) office and making national sales director in 1988. But Komansky also has experience in trading and investment banking. In 1990, he became head of Merrill's global equity trading operation and in 1993, the head of global debt and equity. During that time, Merrill has boomed, and Komansky earned $12.2 million last year.

Komansky is sure to push Merrill even further internationally. "We'll look at any acquisition possibilities that make sense for us," he says. And he'll push harder in Washington: "We have to be a little more participative." His take on the stock market? "We wouldn't be too suprised to see a correction in the next six months."EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDS By Leah Nathans SpiroReturn to top

IT'S MY NETWORK! NO, IT'S MY NETWORK!

IT MIGHT HAVE MADE FOR engrossing TV: media titans duking it out in a Delaware court. Seagram CEO Edgar Bronfman testified on Oct. 29 that Viacom was an untrustworthy partner. Next day, Viacom CEO Sumner Redstone took the stand. Viacom and Seagram's MCA unit are warring over USA Networks, which the companies have long jointly owned. MCA says Viacom flouted the noncompete language of the partnership by launching a new cable network, TV Land, in April. A deal for Viacom to buy Seagram's share of USA for about $1.5 billion fell apart in the days preceding Bronfman's testimony. So media industry gawkers can look forward to an even juicier confrontation: Former Viacom chief Frank Biondi, who now heads MCA, is expected to be a rather reluctant witness for Viacom.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top

McDONNELL DOUGLAS' WORLD OF WOE

THE GOOD NEWS: McDONNELL Douglas reported slightly higher third-quarter profits, despite a machinists' strike. The bad news--well, it came in torrents. On Oct. 25, Herbert Lanese, head of the aerospace giant's military business and heir apparent to the top job, quit abruptly after clashes with CEO Harry Stonecipher. The company said on Oct. 28 it was scrapping plans to develop its MD-XX, a long-range commercial jet. The latest blow: a federal grand jury probe, reported in The New York Times, of McDonnell's possible violation of U.S. export-control laws with China. McDonnell denies wrongdoing.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top

TCI HITS THE PAUSE BUTTON

THE WORLD OF 500 CHANnels can wait. Tele-Communications announced plans on Oct. 25 to scale back the $1.9 billion it spends annually upgrading its fiber-optic system to deliver digital services. The cable giant will slow expansion in its major urban markets and in rural areas, where expensive new services typically aren't as profitable. The reorganization acknowledges TCI's need to reduce its $14.5 billion in debt and to free up cash to fight satellite-TV services cutting into its subscriber base.EDITED BY KEITH H. HAMMONDSReturn to top


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