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The sale of US pet-food giant Ralston Purina Co. to Nestle SA of Vevey, Switzerland, for $10 billion in cash could be announced within days, The Wall Street Journal reported. Neither company would comment on the report, although the Journal said negotiations had been under way for several weeks. Such a deal could raise regulatory objections, analysts said, since between them Ralston Purina and Nestle would control 40 percent of the pet-food market in the US through such brands as Purina dog and cat chows, Alpo, Mighty Dog, Friskies, Gourmet, and Fancy Feast. Ralston Purina is based in St. Louis.

A long-expected merger appeared imminent between electrical industry rivals Schneider and Legrand SA, reports said. Terms of the all-stock deal were not immediately available, but the combined company would employ 94,000 people with annual sales in excess of $11 billion. Schneider, of Rueil-Malmaison, France, makes equipment for industrial use. Legrand is a world leader in home security systems, dimmers, timers, and automated lighting and heating controls. It is based in Limoges Cedex, France.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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