Briefs

Banker Launches Online Finance Unit

J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc. announced a new electronic-finance unit last week called LabMorgan. The unit will combine the capabilities of a classic incubator and early-stage merchant bank with J. P. Morgan's client reach. LabMorgan is the first of several planned online initiatives expected this year. The New York-based company said it plans to commit up to $1 billion to electronic business this year.

Sony Plans to Start Internet Bank

Tokyo-based Sony Corp. will launch an Internet bank next year targeted at individual consumers. A company official told Reuters last week that Sony hopes to attract $9.3 billion in deposits within five years. Sony already has online insurance and brokerage units.

Baan Works to Stay On Blue-Chip Index

Baan Co. NV has reached agreements to raise $41 million in equity funding, which it needs to avoid being dropped from the Amsterdam stock exchange's blue-chip index. After six consecutive quarters of losses, the Putten, Netherlands-based software vendor had been told by the exchange to boost its shareholder equity or face a "special listing" of its stock. To comply, Baan is trading new shares for notes held by unidentified institutional investors.

Memory Problems for Some Dell Laptops

Dell Computer Corp. in Round Rock, Texas, said 200,000 to 400,000 laptop computers sold last year between Feb. 1 and Nov. 30 may have flawed memory modules that can cause data to become lost or corrupted. The problem crops up only when affected notebooks are brought out of sleep or suspend mode and the system hangs or shows a Windows blue-screen error. The problem can be fixed with a work-around in the BIOS or with a replacement of the memory module.

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