News In Brief

As expected, General Electric announced it will sell its Americom satellite unit to Luxembourg-based Societe Europeenne des Satellites for $5 billion, the companies announced. The cash-and-stock deal will result in creation of a new company, SES Global, with 28 wholly owned communications satellites, and partnerships in 13 others, offering the world's most extensive range of broadband and multimedia services.

Viacom Inc. has given up on a long-stalled plan to split off its Blockbuster video rental division, The Wall Street Journal reported. Viacom had been waiting for a recovery in Blockbuster stock before going ahead with the plan, but dropped it because "Blockbuster has been picking up market share and growing the business," Viacom president Mel Karmazin said.

Layoff news came in waves from:

* Nortel Networks, the Canadian telecommunications-equipment giant, which added another 5,000 job cuts to the 10,000 announced earlier this year.

* Walt Disney Co., which said it will cut 4,000 employees, mostly in its Anaheim, Calif., and Florida attractions.

* MarchFirst Inc., which, according to The New York Times, is expected to cut 3,500 jobs - half its work-force - by the end of the week. The Chicago-based technology consulting firm has laid off more than 2,000 employees in the past six months.

* Minnetonka, Minn.-based ADC Telecommunications, a supplier of equipment, software, and other services to long-distance, wireless, and local carriers, which will eliminate up to 4,000 jobs. The company already has cut almost 3,000 positions since November.

* Home-improvement retailer HomeBase Inc. of Irvine, Calif., which will close 25 stores, cut more than 2,600 jobs, and scale back plans to remake itself into a furnishings chain.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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