With many schools receiving multiple bids from competing soft-drink giants, however, their main concern often seems less about corporate influence than about which contract to sign. Some school officials have displayed negotiating prowess worthy of a major league baseball star.

One of the most lucrative deals was signed last November between the Colorado Springs school district and Coke, in which the district will receive $8 million over 10 years -- and more if it exceeds its "requirement" of selling 70,000 cases of Coke products a year, said John Bushe, a distict official who oversees the program. Until last fall, many of the district's 53 schools, which extend from kindergarten to high school, had Pepsi vending machinees; now the machines are all Coke.

New York Times, D4 March 10, 1998

Generale des Eaux S. A., the diversified French water utility company, has agreed to buy the 70 percent of Havas S.A. it does not own for $5.6 billion, another step in General's effort to transform itself into a focused indusrial concern with a major stake in telecommunictions.

Generale had said last month that it was negotiating to acquire the rest of Havas, France's largest media group, which owns a one-third stake in Canal Plus, Europe's largest pay-for-view television network.

New York Times, D3 March 10, 1998

(Recall Paul Valery's prognostications concerning the piping of images into the home like water...)