News In Brief

eToys announced it would file for bankruptcy protection and close its website by March 8. The Internet retailer also advised investors that its stock, valued at more than $80 in 1999, was "worthless." Last December, eToys warned it was in financial trouble, and last month it announced extensive layoffs.

Electronics maker SCI Systems Inc. said it would reduce its worldwide workforce by 3,800 jobs, or 10 percent, partly because of a slowdown in computer sales. The Huntsville, Ala.-based company did not specify which of its 52 facilities in 20 countries would be affected.

Cable TV operator Mediacom Communications Corp. of Middletown, N.Y., will pay about $2.22 billion in cash for AT&T Broadband cable systems in four states, the companies announced. The deal, which will double Mediacom's size, will affect 840,000 basic subscribers in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.

AT&T will be paid $1.35 billion for its 10 percent stake in Japan Telecom by the world's largest mobile phone operator, Vodafone, reports said. The deal increases Vodafone's ownership share in Japan Telecom to 25 percent, the largest by a non-Japanese investor. In a related development, Vodafone also followed up last October's $2.5 billion purchase of 2 percent ownership in China Mobile by signing a "strategic alliance" with the Hong Kong-based company. With about 43 million customers in seven regions of China, the latter is second only to Vodafone in the industry in size.

General Motors announced a deal to become the first US automaker to produce vehicles in Russia. GM said it signed a joint venture with AvtoVAZ to assemble and sell 75,000 light-duty SUVs under the name Chevy Niva, beginning next year. AvtoVAZ, once owned by the state, is Russia's No. 1 manufacturer of cars.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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