Business & Finance

A federal bankruptcy court in Chicago OK'd Kmart's plan to shut 316 stores and borrow $2 billion to fund operations at its remaining 1,500 outlets. About 30,000 employees would be affected by the closures. The discount retailer hopes to emerge from bankruptcy by April 30.

Seeking to trim its $26 billion debt, AOL Time Warner sold its 8.4 percent stake in Hughes Electronics Corp. to Bank of America in a block trade valued at $800 million, The Wall Street Journal reported. AOL chief Richard Parsons was expected to outline further measures Wednesday when the online and media giant announced fourth- quarter earnings. Hughes Electronics operates the satellite broadcast service DirecTV and is a unit of General Motors.

EarthLink, the US's No. 3 Internet service provider, said it is cutting 1,300 jobs. In a consolidation move, the company said it will close call centers in Sacramento and Pasadena, Calif.; Dallas; and Seattle.

Delta Air Lines took the wraps off its new low-fare regional subsidiary, the successor to Delta Express. The service, operating under the name Song, will offer 144 daily nonstop flights to Florida destinations from Washington; New York; Boston; and Hartford, Conn., by October, the company said. In other airline industry developments:

• Continental said in April it will recall 48 of the 479 pilots laid off in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and will put still more back to work each month through 2004.

• Northwest announced plans to lay off 60 more pilots by June 1, bringing its total on furlough to 693.

• Struggling BWIA West Indies Airways, Jamaica's No. 1 carrier, said it will lay off 617 employees, effective immediately. To qualify for a government bailout, BWIA must detail a cost-saving plan by Saturday.

Troubled Adelphia Communications Corp., the US's fifth-largest cable-TV operator, announced plans to shift its headquarters to Denver later this year. The move, which was expected after the company reached into the ranks of Denver-based AT&T Broadband for its two new top executives, is subject to approval by US Bankruptcy Court and federal regulators. Denver also is the home of rival Liberty Media as well as the Cable Center, an industry clearinghouse. Adelphia's move will not affect most of the 1,400 employees at its original base in Coudersport, Pa.

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