News In Brief

"There is nothing to confirm," a General Motors executive said about a published report that the automaker is close to finalizing the sale of its DirecTV unit to communications magnate Rupert Murdoch for $70 billion. The electronic edition of the Financial Times said the deal would result in DirecTV being merged with Murdoch's Sky Global Networks empire. The GM official, however, said her company is "still in a state of discussion with more than one interested party" about the sale of DirecTV.

On the heels of last year's cooperative marketing deal with Nike, the athletic footwear giant, the British professional soccer powerhouse Manchester United was to announce a similar arrangement with the New York Yankees. The Financial Times said the arrangement calls for the teams to sell each other's souvenirs and other licensed merchandise, opening up new markets for both. The deal is projected to be worth tens of millions of dollars.

Sunbeam Corp., owner of brands such as Mr. Coffee, First Alert smoke detectors, and Coleman outdoor gear, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The move came as Sunbeam was unable resolve a $2.6 billion debt load. As part of a restructuring, Sunbeam will lose its listing on the New York Stock Exchange and turn private, an executive said. Banks that have agreed to provide a $285 million credit line will hold 100 percent of the company's stock. But no jobs are in danger, the executive said.

In layoff news:

* Toshiba Corp., the Japanese electronics giant, will cut as many as 500 jobs at its facilities in California. The company is shifting production of its notebook computers to the Philippines.

* CNET Networks said it will cut its global workforce by 10 percent, or about 190 positions. The San Francisco-based Internet company said it will eliminate certain businesses duplicated when it acquired ZDNet last year, as well as support staff.

* Two hundred fifty workers were laid off at the Westminster, Mass., plant of Simplex Time Recorder, a manufacturer of fire and security products and communications systems. The move came one month after the company was acquired by Tyco International.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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