Markets: Stock Offering in a Major

Stock Offering in a Major

The London stock market is starting to look a lot like Wall Street. Suddenly large takeovers are in flower. In New York it might seem almost child's play, but in Britain a billion-dollar merger or acquisition remains a remarkable event. Last week several behemoth-size deals were in the offing. Argyll, a supermarket chain, offered $2.8 billion to acquire Distillers, maker of Johnnie Walker Scotch and Gordon's gin, and Britain's General Electric bid $1.8 billion for Plessey, an electronics firm.

Along with the takeover tussles come some new stock offerings. The most unusual is the creation of Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, 37,...

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