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Byline: - Staff and Wire Services

DirecTV and a British firm plan to drop their dueling contract and trade- secrets lawsuits later this year because the companies soon will be half-siblings under a deal now under regulatory review.

El Segundo-based DirecTV filed a federal lawsuit against British NDS in December, and NDS countersued.

But in a joint announcement Tuesday, the companies said they agreed to a stay of their lawsuits, pending the closing of News Corp.'s 34 percent acquisition of Hughes Electronics Corp. News Corp. is the parent of NDS, and Hughes is DirecTV's parent.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the year, when the lawsuits will be dismissed, the companies stated.

Advocacy group changing name

The Los Angeles-based Southern California Regional Purchasing Councils, the region's largest nonprofit minority business advocacy organization, announced a name change Tuesday.

The group will now be known as the Southern California Minority Business Development Council.

The organization, established in 1975, serves 1,300 minority business enterprises and 300 corporate members in 13 counties.

Health Net shares fall despite rating

WOODLAND HILLS - Shares of Health Net lost more than 8 percent of their value Tuesday, a day after the company's quarterly results beat analysts' expectations.

Health Net fell $2.80 to close at $30.40 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Analyst William McKeever said he still has a ``buy'' rating on the stock, attributing Tuesday's lackluster performance to general weakness in the managed-care sector.

Internet customers like AT&T dial-up

WESTLAKE VILLAGE - AT&T Worldnet ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction among dial-up providers, while EarthLink was at the top among high-speed providers, according to a survey released Tuesday.

According to the J.D. Power and Associates study, AT&T Worldnet got top scores on four of the seven factors that contribute to overall satisfaction among dial-up providers: performance and reliability, image, billing, and offerings and promotions.

The remaining factors are cost of service, e-mail services and customer service.

The study, now in its sixth year, also found that dial-up Internet subscribers who would switch to high-speed access would most likely choose to upgrade to DSL service over cable modem if both were available in their areas.

The study finds residential Internet subscriptions continue to grow, with 64 percent of households subscribing to either dial-up or high-speed service - up 7 percent over 2002.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 6, 2003

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