News In Brief

Motorola will close its only cellphone factory in the US by June 30, resulting in the elimination of 2,500 jobs, the wireless giant announced. The shutdown in Harvard, Ill., is part of a plan to hire contractors for more jobs, concentrate on fewer models, and make cellphone manufacturing more efficient, an official said. But about 2,500 employees will remain at the Harvard location, working on research, marketing, and customer service. Motorola, the world's No. 2 cellphone manufacturer, announced another 2,870 layoffs in December under a program to outsource more production.

A freeze on most new investments has been ordered for international media giant News Corp. by its chairman, Rupert Murdoch, to concentrate on finding cash for the possible takeover of satellite broadcaster DirecTV, the Financial Times reported. The newspaper said the acquisition would cost $40 billion. DirecTV, an El Segundo, Calif., subsidiary of General Motors, has an estimated 10 million subscribers in the US and Latin America.

Toyota, the world's No. 3 automaker, will spend $2 billion on the largest buyback of stock in Japanese history, the company announced. Word of the move, which will affect 75 million shares, sent Toyota stock up by 12.8 percent in one day to a six-week high on the Tokyo exchange.

In a $10.8 billion deal, all but 10 percent ownership of German telecommunications provider Viag Interkom has been sold to British Telecom, the companies announced. British Telecom said it expects to acquire the remaining stake by the end of the month from a third investor, Telenor, Norway's state-owned carrier. Viag's parent, Dusseldorf-based conglomerate E.ON, has been planning to divest itself of noncore assets in order to concentrate on its energy and specialty-chemicals businesses.

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