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Williams Communications Group "strongly" denied it would be the next major company in its field to declare bankruptcy. The struggling Tulsa, Okla.-based global broadband service provider reported a $372 million loss for the fourth quarter. But the company disputed an advisory from lender banks that it may default on its credit agreement and said a restructuring plan due to be submitted Feb. 25 would not include a Chapter 11 filing. Williams has a reported $5.6 billion in debt. Rivals Global Crossing and McLeodUSA sought bankruptcy protection Jan. 28 and Jan. 31, respectively.

The Limited Inc., a retail chain specializing in women's casual apparel, said it will offer $1.4 billion worth of stock for the 16 percent of Intimate Brands Inc. it does not already own. The latter operates the Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works chains. The headquarters of both companies are in Columbus, Ohio.

In layoff developments:

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• Mm02, a cellphone service provider with licenses in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the Netherlands, announced it will cut 1,900 jobs. The company once was part of the giant British Telecom system.

• BHP Billiton, one of the world's largest mining operators, said it is cutting 1,000 jobs. The newly merged company is based in Perth, Australia.

• Another 900 workers will be laid off by TDK Corp., a leading maker of blank recording tape, compact discs, and electronics components. Tokyo-based TDK announced 6,380 layoffs last November.

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