Business & Finance

Long-distance service provider IDT Corp. bid $255 million for the assets of bankrupt Global Crossing, arguing that a planned takeover of the fiber-optics network by Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. and a partner in Singapore is "against the national interests of the US." Senior IDT executives said that since Global Crossing carries sensitive CIA, FBI, and Justice Department data, the takeover by Hutchison Whampoa is likely to be blocked by federal officials. Hutchison Whampoa is controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing, who is widely believed to have ties to China's communist government. Its $250 million offer for the assets was approved by a bankruptcy court last August, and Global Crossing said it fully intends to complete that deal. IDT is based in Newark, N.J.

A fourth credit-rating agency won official recognition from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Dominion Bond Rating Service of Toronto joins Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's, and Fitch Ratings. The move comes as the SEC considers tighter regulation of the industry while investigating allegations of possible conflicts of interest in evaluations of some companies.

Plans to spend as much as $1.3 billion on a buy-back of its own shares were announced by British American Tobacco PLC. The company is the world's second-largest maker of cigarettes.

In layoff news:

• Clariant Ltd., the world's second-largest maker of specialty chemicals, warned that as many as 1,600 jobs are likely to be cut as it splits into two parts and sells off noncore assets, the Financial Times reported. The Swiss company suspended its dividend Tuesday.

• Credit Suisse Group announced plans to eliminate 1,200 more jobs. The banking giant, which posted a European record $2.48 billion loss last year, has cut 8,100 other positions since mid-2001.

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