Expect the following technology stocks to be among Monday's most actively traded issues: eBay, JDS Uniphase, NetIQ, Nortel Networks and Yahoo!
eBay shares will be worth watching Monday after Britain's The Independent reported the online auctioneer is set to offer $1.6 billion offer to buy Sotheby's (NYSE: BID), a 250-year-old auction house.
The newspaper said eBay would take advantage of Sotheby's current turmoil to pounce after two senior executives resigned from the firm amid a widening price-fixing probe.
Antitrust probes in Britain, Australia and the United States are investigating whether Sotheby's and its rival, Christie's International Plc fixed sale commissions. Between them, the two companies control 95 percent of the world's $4 billion auction business.
Sotheby's shares have fallen 20 percent since newspaper reports alleged at the end of January that the auction house and Christie's had limited competition on commissions.
eBay shares fell 13 3/16 to 150 13/16 Friday.
One of the fastest-growing tech stocks around, JDS Uniphase will attract heavy action after it authorized a 2-for-1 stock split effective March 11.
Company officials set March 2 as the record date for the previously announced split of its common shares and the concurrent 2-for-1 split of the Exchangeable Shares of JDS Uniphase Canada, Ltd. The payment date for the stock dividend and the stock split will be March 10, 2000.
JDS Uniphase shares closed off 1 3/16 to 256 13/16 Friday.
Competitors NetIQ and Mission Critical Software Inc. (Nasdaq: MCSW), which both software used to monitor and administer computer systems, plan to merge in a stock-swap valued at about $1.42 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Separately, Houston-based Mission Critical also agreed to acquire privately held Ganymede Software for $172.2 million in stock, the Journal said.
Nortel is reportedly interested in acquiring Israeli telecommunications start-up Be-Connected, a unit of Telrad Networks, for $100 million.
Nortel owns a 20 percent stake in Telrad with an option to raise it to 50 percent, while Israel's Koor Industries (NYSE: KOR) owns 80 percent.
Its shares finished off 3 to 113 1/2 Friday.
Rupert Murdoch's media empire News Corp. (NYSE: NWS) has been talking with Yahoo! about an alliance that may include stock investments in each other's operations, the New York Times said Monday.
Executives reportedly said the companies are considering joining forces to counter the pending merger of America Online Inc. (NYSE:AOL) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX), the newspaper said.
The article cited a report published in the New Yorker magazine, and the Times said the deal would provide Yahoo with access to the Fox News Channel and News Corp.-owed newspapers, such as The Times of London and The New York Post. News Corp would gain credibility for its recently announced effort to use its satellite networks to deliver Internet services to consumers in addition to its current television offerings.
Reuters contributed to this report.>