News In Brief

The eagerly anticipated initial public offering in Kraft Foods already is heavily oversubscribed and could yield more than $9 billion, an informed source told the Reuters news agency. The final share price had yet to be announced as the Monitor went to press, but would be about $31 instead of the originally projected $27 to $30, the source said. The IPO stood to be the second-largest in US history, with the windfall to be used to pay down debt.

Creditors and stockholders of Finova Group, a commercial lender, OK'd an enhanced $7.7 billion bailout plan by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Leucadia National Corp. Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Finova, which is under bankruptcy protection, earlier rejected a $7.25 billion offer from General Electric's capital unit and Goldman Sachs. The latter two had upped their bid to compete with Berkadia LLC, the Berkshire organization formed for this purpose. Berkadia's plan now goes to court for consideration.

An investor group led by onetime H. J. Heinz Corp. chairman Tony O'Reilly will buy Eircom, the former state-owned Irish Republic telephone monopoly, for $2.47 billion, reports said. The deal will involve Eircom's landline network, Internet service providers, and directories service. Eircom's cellphone business was sold last month to industry giant Vodafone for $3 billion.

Comair and its striking pilots were to reopen three days of negotiations for a new contract, pledging to "leave no stone unturned." The walkout by pilots, the first at a US carrier in three years, began March 26 over pay raises and benefits more in line with those at major airlines. On May 12, Comair's pilots overwhelmingly rejected a settlement proposed by the National Mediation Board.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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