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In the largest leveraged-buyout deal in European history, venture capital specialists Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. and Apax Partners agreed to acquire the yellow pages business of heavily indebted British Telecom for $3.04 billion. Still, the selling price was a reported one-third less than British Telecom had hoped for when it put the property, known commercially as Yell, on the market. The transaction also includes Yell's US counterpart, Yellow Book, plus Yell.com, an Internet-based business information site, and Talking Pages, a round-the-clock directory. Despite other recent moves to unload assets, British Telecom carried $39.8 billion in debt before the sale of Yell. Hicks, Muse is based in Dallas; Apax Partners in London.

Isuzu, the money-losing maker of light trucks, will cut its workforce by 9,700 jobs over the next three years, as the chief step in a major restructuring plan, the company announced. Other elements include the sale of its headquarters in Tokyo and one assembly plant, and the shifting of sport-utility vehicle production to the US. Isuzu, which is 49 percent owned by General Motors, has recorded net losses of $1.8 billion over the past two years.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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