Financial Briefs

The Justice Dept. gave the go-ahead Thursday to the New York Times’ $ 1.1 billion purchase of the Boston Globe, deeming that it will not adversely affect competition. JD had investigated the proposed deal for possible antitrust violations. The deal, announced June 11, guarantees the Globe independence in news and management for at least five years.

Mattel Inc. will buy Fisher-Price Inc. in a $ 1 billion deal that allows the famed maker of Barbie dolls to surpass Hasbro Inc. as the world’s biggest toy company. Under terms of the takeover announced by the companies Thursday, Mattel , based in El Segundo, will use its own stock to pay for Fisher-Price, a leading maker of children’s educational play things.

Astral Communications Inc. said it is expanding its operations to the U.S. and will open a compact disc and videocassette manufacturing plant in Boca Raton , Fla., early next year. The company said the plant will occupy 100,000 square feet of manufacturing/office space and will have an initial capacity of 12 million CDs annually; it’s expected to create 50 new jobs in its first year of operation. The initial capital investment will be $ 10.5 million, and additional capital spending of $ 7.1 million will be required over the next five years, with employment expected to reach 200 by 1998.

Sharp Microelectronics Technology Inc. said it will invest $ 20 million in new equipment at a U.S. plant to assemble high-quality video components for portable computer screens. The components, known as active-matrix LCD panels, were previously assembled overseas by Sharp Corp., the company’s Japanese parent company, to avoid a “dumping” tariff on the technology.

Atari Corp., the company that invented videogames, will launch the Jaguar, a high-performance 3-D game system that it hopes will challenge the domination of Nintendo and Sega and go head-to-head with a number of newer videogame systems now being developed. Jaguar, aimed at the mass consumer market, will sell for $ 200. An optional compact disc player will cost $ 200 more.

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