Business & Finance

AOL Time Warner chairman Steve Case is resigning, effective in May. The cofounder of America Online and a key architect of the 2001 merger that formed the online and media titan, Case had been under pressure to step aside amid an executive reshuffle, and acknowledged that he had become a focus of shareholder disappointment. The company's stock has fallen from a postmerger high of more than $50 per share to as low as $8.70 last summer, and closed Friday at $14.88 on the New York Stock Exchange. Case will remain on the firm's board and continue to play a role in strategic planning.

British supermarket giant Sainsbury PLC and US retailer Wal-Mart reportedly are preparing bids for Safeway, Britain's fourth-largest grocery chain. Sainsbury said Monday it was considering a $4.8 billion hostile offer for the company, slightly more than the $4.6 billion acquisition deal announced four days ago by Britain's fifth-largest food retailer, William Morrison Supermarkets PLC. Sainsbury said it will file a detailed merger proposal to competition authorities next week.

Troubled Italian conglomerate Fiat SpA said it sold Fraikin, its French truck-rental subsidiary, to French investment firm Eurazeo for $848 million. It was the latest in a series of asset sales under which Fiat has slashed its net debt from $6.1 billion in September to less than $3.8 billion, as part of a bailout agreement with creditor banks. The company is based in Turin, Italy, and is the country's largest private employer.

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