Friday September 20, 2002

Emeryville’s Wham-O expands  

snow sports, surfing division 

EMERYVILLE — Outdoor toy maker Wham-O Inc. on Thursday expanded its snow sports and surfing lines by buying two product lines from Earth and Ocean Sports. 

Emeryville-based Wham-O picked up Redmond, Wash.-based Earth and Ocean’s Pro Boards and Sledz brands in a deal that helped the company continue to diversify beyond its signature toys, including the Hula Hoop and Frisbee. 

The acquisitions will supplement Wham-O’s Boogie boards and sleds. 

Privately held Wham-O didn’t disclose the purchase price, which included the acquisition of Earth and Ocean’s factory in Oceanside. 

Group says state auto insurance changes would hurt soldiers 

LOS ANGELES — U.S. soldiers returning to California from overseas or out-of-state duty would be hurt by a proposal to let auto insurers raise premiums for drivers with lapsed coverage, consumer activists said Thursday. 

A controversial bill awaiting the governor’s signature would allow insurance companies to offer discounts to drivers with continuous coverage, and add a new surcharge on drivers who were previously uninsured or had a lapse in coverage. 

Tire death lawsuit settled 

LOS ANGELES — The Ford Motor Co. and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. settled California’s first “rollover” death trial Thursday for an undisclosed sum, a lawyer said. 

The companies did not admit any wrongdoing. 

The case involved an Oct. 31, 1999, accident that killed Cathy Dizon, 19, and injured four other people. All were members of a University of Southern California sorority and were returning from a San Francisco trip. 

Jury selection began Sept. 4, but a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge ordered that settlement discussions occur before another judge, who approved the deal. 

“After laying out our case in opening statement and putting on witnesses for a couple of days, the matter has settled,” attorney John Denove said. 

“I think this result is a victory for the consumers,” he said. 

3Com posts first-quarter loss, misses revenue expectations 

SAN JOSE — 3Com Corp. on Thursday posted a fiscal first-quarter loss of $32 million, missing Wall Street expectations as demand for networking equipment continues to be weak. 

For the three months ended Aug. 30, the company lost 9 cents per share on sales of $305 million, compared with a loss of $223 million, or 65 cents per share, on sales of $390 million in the same period last year. 

Analysts were expecting a pro forma loss of 3 cents per share, according to a survey by Thomson First Call. The estimate is not comparable to the company’s figures, which are based on General Accepted Accounting Principles. 

In terms of sales, 3Com fell short of the $313 million expected by analysts. 

The company expects second-quarter revenues to decline as much as 8 percent from the first quarter, said Mark Slaven, 3Com’s chief financial officer. He did not issue an earnings forecast. 

3Com, which has endured more than a year of downsizing, returned to pro forma profitability in its fiscal fourth quarter, which ended in June.  

Dockworkers suspend lockout plans 

LOS ANGELES — Plans for a lockout Friday morning at the nation’s busiest port complex appeared to have been averted when dockworkers on the Thursday night shift began re-staffing operations at a terminal where activity had been frozen most of the week.