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Coca-Cola Co. and Procter & Gamble announced plans to form a stand-alone juice-and-snack company. The as-yet-unnamed company, with 6,000 employees and 15 manufacturing plants, is projected to have annual sales of about $4.2 billion. Its approximately 40 brands are to include Minute Maid and Sunny Delight juice drinks, and Pringles chips. The operation is seen bringing together Coke's global distribution system and P&G's research expertise.

Up to $4 billion worth of shares in Sprint Corp. were to be sold by European companies Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom, the former announced. The widely expected transaction comes about a year after the three companies dismantled their international joint venture, Global One, which provided communications services to large corporations. Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom each own about 10 percent of Sprint.

VA Linux Systems Inc. announced it would lay off 25 percent of its 556-strong workforce. The Fremont, Calif.-based company makes software and products for the Linux computer operating system

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Fugitive billionaire Marc Rich, whose 11th-hour pardon by ex-President Clinton has provoked howls of protest from critics, sold full interest in his trading company to a Russian-owned rival, reports said. Terms of the purchase of five-year-old Marc Rich Investment by Crown Resources were not disclosed. Both companies are based in Zug, Switzerland, and deal in such commodities as oil, ferrous and nonferrous metals, and other raw materials.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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