Business briefs

Oracle reveals buyout offer to BEA Systems

SAN FRANCISCO - Pouncing on a vulnerable rival, Oracle Corp. has offered $6.7 billion to buy BEA Systems Inc. in its latest bid to trump SAP AG and IBM Corp. in an increasingly intense business software battle.

Oracle unveiled its $17-per-share cash offer Friday, one day after BEA rejected it as inadequate, according to a letter BEA released a few hours after Oracle's revelation catapulted its stock to a new 52-week high.

BEA makes "middleware," products that help software applications run more smoothly on top of databases, while Oracle makes business management software.


Airplane engines give GE profits 14 percent boost

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - General Electric Co.'s profit rose 14 percent in the third quarter on strong global sales of airplane engines, locomotives and other equipment that have led to a record order backlog.

The Fairfield-based industrial, finance and media conglomerate, whose properties range from aircraft engine manufacturing to the NBC television network, reaffirmed its profit outlook for the year.

Drive-through sales help McDonald's make more

CHICAGO - McDonald's Corp.'s hot streak keeps on going.

The world's largest fast-food chain said Friday its third-quarter profits will top Wall Street's estimates following another month of strong sales.

Global sales from its restaurants open more than a year rose 5.9 percent in September, led by an impressive 12 percent gain in its Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa division. Stronger foreign currencies helped boost results.

Same-store sales in its U.S. outlets rose 3.5 percent, increasing for a 54th consecutive month. The company cited its value menu, breakfast offerings and drinks as helping to boost sales - some 60 percent of which now come from drive-throughs.


Gains in retail sales help calm fears of recession

WASHINGTON - Retail sales posted a stronger-than-expected gain in September, easing fears about a possible recession, while a big increase in gasoline costs pushed wholesale inflation higher.

The Commerce Department reported Friday that retail sales increased 0.6 percent last month, double what had been expected, as a big increase in auto sales helped offset weak demand for clothing.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said wholesale inflation jumped by 1.1 percent in September, the biggest increase in seven months, as gasoline costs shot up by 8.4 percent, the biggest gain since March. However, outside of energy and food, core inflation remained well contained, rising by just 0.1 percent.