News In Brief

Hewlett-Packard announced it had ended talks to buy PricewaterhouseCoopers's consulting business, which had been valued at $18 billion. Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto, Calif., said the companies were unable to reach a satisfactory agreement in the current market environment. The high-tech heavyweight also reported fourth-quarter earnings far short of Wall Street expectations. PricewaterhouseCoopers is based in New York.

Avis Group Holdings, the car-rental company, is to become a subsidiary of franchising giant Cendant Corp., the companies said. Cendant, based in New York, said it agreed to pay $935 million to acquire the 82 percent of Garden City, N.Y.-based Avis that it doesn't own already.

FedEx announced it would buy the trucking firm American Freightways Corp. for about $950 million in cash and stock, plus $250 million in debt. The deal is expected to further FedEx's expansion into regional freight delivery markets. American Freightways is based in Harrison, Ark.; FedEx in Memphis, Tenn.

By agreeing to roll over most of a $80 million debt repayment, creditors rescued - at least temporarily - South Korea's giant Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. from bankruptcy, reports said. The payment of $60 million still outstanding now will not be due until Dec. 31, bringing the total to be repaid by then to $240 million. As a result, Hyundai Engineering, which overall is an estimated $4.6 billion in debt, will be under even greater pressure to come up with a drastic restructuring policy in the time remaining, analysts said. Last week, Hyundai Motor became the latest of Hyundai Engineering's sister companies to say it could not help with the financial woes.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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