Business & Finance

Burger King, the world's second-largest fast-food chain, won't be sold to a consortium of US buyers for $2.26 billion after all, its parent company announced. Diageo PLC, the British alcoholic beverage giant, said the sale agreed to in July by Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital of Boston, and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners fell through when the buyers asked for new negotiations on a deal "materially different as to terms and structure." In London, Reuters reported that it had learned from "industry sources" that the consortium wanted to drop the price to $1.5 billion because of Burger King's declining sales.

United Airlines will cut 9,000 more jobs, reduce scheduled flights a further 6 percent, and retire 49 more planes, parent company UAL Corp. announced Sunday. It also said the delivery of 25 new planes would be deferred until 2005. The cutbacks are part of a comprehensive restructuring plan aimed at qualifying for a $1.8 billion federal loan guarantee. Otherwise, the nation's second-largest carrier could be forced into bankruptcy by the end of this year. United already has laid off 17,000 workers since Sept. 11, 2001, during an industrywide slump.

In what's believed to be a first, the No. 2 broadband operator in China will lead a consortium to buy control of a subsidiary of financially troubled Global Crossing Ltd. The Wall Street Journal and Financial Times reported that the acquisition of rival Asia Global Crossing by China Netcom Corp. and two international partners is valued at $270 million. But the significance of the deal is that it marks the first purchase of a major foreign competitor by a telecommunications company in mainland China. Asia Global Crossing is based in Los Angeles and its assets include an undersea cable connecting the US and Japan and an undersea fiber-optic system still under construction that will connect the entire Pacific Rim. China Netcom was formed in 1999 from companies owned by the Beijing government. It provides Internet access and fixed-line service to residential and corporate customers.

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