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NASDAQ "halted trading of shares" of The North Face on Thursday as "shareholder lawsuits mounted against" the CO sporting goods company, according to Dina Bunn of the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS. Groups of shareholders filed "five separate class-action suits against" The North Face following the company's announcement that it is "auditing its accounting procedure and expects to restate its financial reports" for '97 and '98. The complaints allege The North Face executives reported "false financial results and exaggerated sales increases, which led to inflated stock prices." Shares of The North Face are down 52% from a high of $27 on March 11 of last year. The stock closed at $13 on Thursday when trading stopped (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/12). IN FOCUS: The North Face is the subject of the WALL STREET JOURNAL's "Corporate Focus" and Coleman & Berner write, "Just because urban kids are falling in love with a brand of apparel doesn't mean investors should" (WSJ, 3/12).
Ogden Corp. "intends to break its three business lines into two publicly traded companies in an effort to prop up its lagging share price," according to Allanna Sullivan of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. The company "said it will put its entertainment and aviation businesses into one company and its energy operations into another company in a deal that Ogden executives hope will be done on a tax-free basis." Ogden will first sell "as much" as 20% of the "newly created entertainment and aviation company" in an IPO this fall and then "spin off the remainder to shareholders by year end." Ogden Chair R. Richard Ablon will run the entertainment and aviation division (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/12).