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Australian's Plans Prompt Trading Spree in USX Stock

September 12, 1986|JUBE SHIVER Jr. | Times Staff Writer

More than 5 million shares of USX traded hands Thursday as investors apparently anticipated the advances of an Australian corporate raider on the nation's largest steel company.

Australian investor Robert Holmes a Court, who indicated last month that he is interested in purchasing as much as 15% of strikebound USX, was expected by analysts to start buying stock today.

The speculation triggered a trading spree by Wall Street arbitrageurs, who helped make USX the most actively traded stock. It closed at $20.50 on the New York Stock Exchange, down 12.5 cents.

USX is the new name for the U.S. Steel Corp. The new name came in July, following a long-expected corporate restructuring that made the steel division one of four operating units. The company's steel operations have been shut down for more than a month by a steelworkers' strike.

Holmes a Court, 49, of Perth, Australia, is one of that country's richest men. He is a lawyer who has developed a reputation as a corporate raider in Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Raised in South Africa and Zimbabwe, Holmes a Court now controls Perth-based Bell Group Ltd., an Australian industrial concern with more than $3 billion in assets.

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