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Volume 24 No. 117

Finance

          Formula One CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that $2.5B
     flotation of Formula One Holdings (F1) "could happen as
     early as next year," according to Patrick Harverson of the
     FINANCIAL TIMES.  A "dispute" between Ecclestone and the 11
     teams competing in F1 delayed the summer sale and had "led
     to speculation that Mr. Ecclestone would abandon the
     flotation."  Ecclestone: "It's not a case of if, it's a case
     of when."  Ecclestone added that "ideally he wanted the
     flotation to go ahead in early 1998, before the start of the
     next F1 season."  Harverson reports that Ecclestone wants
     Salomon Brothers to "cut the time he would spend on a
     roadshow selling the issue to investors."  As for a possible
     private sale, Ecclestone said that he had been approached by
     "one big company keen on buying a controlling stake in his
     business, but he was not interested."  While he would not
     reveal the company, Harverson wrote that BSkyB "had shown an
     interest" in investing in F1 (FINANCIAL TIMES, 9/29).

          As reported in yesterday's DAILY, CO-based Gart Sports
     Co. acquired IL-based Sportmart to form the second-largest
     sporting goods retailer in the U.S.  Terms of the deal were
     not released, but Gart, which is controlled by the L.A.
     banking firm Leonard Green & Partners, will issue stock to
     Sportmart holders "representing" a 27.5% stake in the new
     company.  The combined company, which will be "about" 60%
     controlled by Green, will look to be traded publicly on the
     NASDAQ.  Yesterday, Sportmart shares on the NASDAQ dropped
     $1.1875, or 25%, to $3.5625 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/30).
          REAX: In Denver, Penny Parker writes that Sportmart had
     seen "a dramatic downward slide" in its stock price from
     $10.063 in June '95 to its current state.  Paine Webber
     analyst Aram Rubinson: "It helps bail Sportmart out of their
     own issues, but they're taking a price below the original
     market value.  It doesn't change the fact that there are too
     many stores out there" (DENVER POST, 9/30).  For FY '97,
     Gart reported a net income of $4.5M.  Gart CEO Doug Morton,
     who will retain his title in the new company: "We built a
     lot of value in Gart.  We're not in debt; we're profitable,
     that's unique in the industry."  Sportmart and Gart stores
     will keep their own names and Denver will be the new
     corporate headquarters.  Sportmart Chair Larry Hochberg, and
     his son, Sportmart CEO Andrew, will be elected to Gart's
     Board of Directors (Dina Bunn, ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 9/30).