ESTEE LAUDER LOWERS ESTIMATES: Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. warned late Monday its diluted earnings per share for the third quarter could be as much as 18.2 percent below Wall Street’s consensus estimate of 22 cents, in the range of 18 to 21 cents. Year-ago profits were 24 cents a share. On a constant-currency basis, sales are expected to rise 2 to 3 percent for the quarter. The Americas region “continues to experience a weak retail environment” while the travel business has been bruised by lower worldwide travel, said the firm in a statement.
TAKING ACCOUNT: Sara Lee Corp., which dropped Arthur Andersen as its auditor last week after a 37-year relationship, appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers to serve in that capacity Monday. Shareholders will be asked to approve the choice at the firm’s annual meeting in October. Arthur Andersen, which billed Sara Lee $6.6 million for services rendered in 2001, last week was indicted for obstruction of justice in connection with its handling of bankrupt Enron Corp.’s books.
GLOBAL ACQUIRES ASHFORD.COM: Burgeoning e-commerce services provider Global Sports on Thursday completed its acquisition of Ashford.com, following approval by shareholders in the Houston-based e-tailer. Ashford holders are receiving 0.0076 shares of Global and 12.5 cents for each share of Ashford common stock, through the deal that will cost Global around $7 million. In its final day of trading, March 14, Ashford closed at 25 cents a share. It went public at $13 in September 1999. Global eased 2.5 cents Monday to $17.52 on Nasdaq.