Business & Finance
Carnival Corp., the world's biggest cruise line, ruled out selling its Cunard subsidiary to satisfy European Union competition concerns as it seeks to acquire British-based P&O Princess Cruises. Cunard, which also is British, operates the famous QE II. Carnival signaled, however, that it would be willing to sell P&O Cruises-UK if the merger is approved. Carnival is vying with Royal Caribbean to take over Princess. A final decision is expected in August.
MetLife Inc., the financial services giant, outbid two rivals for full control of Mexico's government-owned insurance carrier, Ahisa. The deal is valued at about $1 billion. Analysts said the acquisition should be a comfortable fit for MetLife, since both companies specialize in group policies for public-sector employees. The privatization is the first for Mexico under President Vicente Fox.
Fiat, the struggling industrial group, was meeting with creditor banks in Italy to try to stave off the lowering of its debt rating to junk-bond status. The company's restructuring plan, announced two weeks ago, isn't tough enough, a source familiar with the creditors' thinking told the Financial Times. Fiat owes a reported $30 billion and posted a first-quarter loss of $476 million. The creditors want Fiat to sell off two subsidiaries its top executives so far have been unwilling to part with, the newspaper said.
Global Crossing hoped to continue talking with two potential buyers even though they pulled out of negotiations for the bankrupt telecommunications group over the weekend. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. and Singapore Technologies Telemedia said in January they had a signed letter of intent to pay $750 million for the undersea cable network but reported Saturday that "major differences among the parties" remained. Global Crossing's collapse is the fourth-largest in US corporate history.
Placer Dome Inc. offered an unsolicited $1.1 billion for Australia's AurionGold Ltd. If accepted, the bid would make Toronto-based Placer Dome the world's fifth-largest gold-mining company at a time when the metal is trading at around $320 per ounce, a two-year high.