Business & Finance

Control of three almost-bankrupt securities and trust companies belonging to South Korea's deeply troubled Hyundai Group was purchased by American International Group (AIG) and 24 US partners. The deal, valued at $1.6 billion, is the largest yet in South Korea by foreign investors. Its centerpiece is Hyundai Securities, which accounts for 10 percent of all stock trades in South Korea. In terms of market capitalization, New York-based AIG is the world's largest insurance carrier.

Midway Airlines secured a $15 million loan that will keep it flying during bankruptcy reorganization and allow some of the 700 employees laid off last week to receive back pay. The financing is to be provided by Wexford Management, a Connecticut venture-capital fund. Midway filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Aug. 13 and owes $300,000 in wages and $300,000 more in sick leave or medical claims.

Gateway Inc.'s bonds were downgraded to "junk" status by Standard & Poor's, lowering the No. 4 computer retailer's debt rating to to BBB- from BB. The decision makes it harder for Gateway to raise money as it struggles to return to profitability. Gateway recently cut 3,000 workers and closed 27 stores.

In layoff news:

• Equant, the global data-networking operator, will lose 3,000 jobs - half of them by year's end - as a result of its merger with rival Global One, reports said. Global One is owned by France Telecom. Equant is based in Amsterdam.

• Tellabs, a leading maker of communications equipment, said it will cut 1,000 jobs in the US and Europe and close a manufacturing plant in Ireland. The company's headquarters are in Lisle, Ill.

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