Business & Finance

Siebel Systems, Raytheon, and Secure Computing Corp. settled charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of violating a full-disclosure rule by providing inside information to select investors and analysts before making it known to the public. Siebel agreed to a $250,000 fine, and all three companies pledged to adhere to the disclosure rule, while neither admitting nor denying the allegations. The SEC also investigated Motorola, but declined to take action against the electronics giant.

A 10-day delay in beginning a deep round of layoffs was agreed to by Fiat, the Italian industrial conglomerate, under pressure from the government and unions representing its auto workers. The company announced more than 8,000 job cuts Oct. 9, with the first batch to take effect next Monday. But Fiat needs both the government's OK to begin the furloughs and a designation of "crisis status" to allow the cost to be covered by public funds. Fiat Auto is expected to report an operating loss of more than $1 billion this year, and its financial planning assumes savings of almost that much provided the layoffs begin on schedule.

Intel Corp. said it will raise the price of its chips by as much as 40 percent, effective Jan. 1. A spokesman for the Santa Clara, Calif., company said the hike is in response to strong demand for flash memory in increasingly complex cellphones.

Broadcom Corp. announced more than 500 layoffs, or 16 percent of its global workforce. The Irvine, Calif., company designs chips for high-speed networks, including cable-TV set-top boxes and direct-broadcast satellites.

McDonald's announced it will begin accepting credit cards

next year at some US outlets. If the move is successful, its fast-food industry rivals are expected to follow suit, The Wall Street Journal said.

Amid growing doubts about its future viability, MyTravel Group, one of the world's largest tour operators, postponed release of its yearly financial report. The London-based company failed to win an expected OK from lenders to push back the due date on a $390 million line of credit. It has issued three profit warnings in the past five months and canceled dividend payments. MyTravel owns 130 hotels, four cruise ships, and car-rental and reservations services. It employs almost 28,000 people.

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