Arthur Andersen LLP reached a $217 million settlement of lawsuits related to the failed Baptist Foundation of Arizona, an ex-client. An earlier settlement for the same amount fell apart when Andersen's insurer refused to fund it. Monday's deal requires full payment by June 4. It came partway through a trial on the matter in Phoenix, and as jury selection began in Houston on federal obstruction-of-justice charges against Andersen for destroying Enron documents.
As expected, Microsoft announced the acquisition of Navision, Europe's fifth-largest software company, for $1.3 billion in cash and stock. The latter specializes in selling resource-planning and customer-relations applications for mid-sized businesses. Plans call for its headquarters in Vedbaek, Denmark, to serve as Microsoft's base of operations for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
General Motors said it plans to add 1,000 new jobs to its workforce in Canada the first good news for the beleaguered auto industry there in more than a year. The new hires will help build brisk-selling Impalas at GM's Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant. Canada has lost or been notified of the intention to cut 3,700 union jobs in the auto sector since late 2000.
Federated Department Stores Inc. said it will close its Fingerhut subsidiary in the next 30 days and sell off parts of the catalog company, after failing to reach a package deal with an investor group. Fingerhut employs more than 4,000 people in Minnesota. Cincinnati-based Federated is one of the country's largest department-store retailers, operating Macy's and Bloomingdale's, among other chains.
Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. will close all its operations in Texas and Oklahoma, laying off 5,300 employees, the company said. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based supermarket chain tried to sell its 76 stores in the two states to rival Kroger Co. in 1999, but the deal was rejected by the Federal Trade Commission.
Providian Financial Corp., a major issuer of credit cards, certificates of deposit, and home equity loans, indicated it will lay off 2,600 more workers. Previously, the company cut more than 2,400 jobs as part of a purge of problematic loan portfolios. Providian is based in San Francisco.