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By mutual consent, usa Networks Inc. and Internet site Lycos called off their planned merger. The deal, announced Feb. 8, was intended to combine the strengths of the popular web destination with USA's Home Shopping Network, ticket agency, and online entertainment directory into a company worth $22 billion. But it has generated heavy and unrelenting criticism from Lycos investors.

Consolidated Natural Gas OK'd a $6.4 billion takeover offer from Dominion Resources Inc., Virginia's largest power company - turning down an unsolicited bid by another Virginia utility, Columbia Energy. Pittsburgh-based Consolidated, a dominant player in Ohio and the mid-Atlantic region, said it preferred a merger with Dominion in part because joining a gas company with an electric utility was more appealing than merging two gas companies.

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To better penetrate mid-sized markets, Cox Communications Inc. of Atlanta announced it's buying TCA Cable TV Inc. for $4 billion. TCA, based in Tyler, Texas, has 900,000 subscribers, mostly in south-central states. The deal will make Cox the US's fourth-largest cable provider.

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