Business & Finance

Verizon Wireless sued its smaller cellphone rival, Nextel Communications Inc., accusing it of corporate espionage. The lawsuit, filed Friday in US District Court in Alexandria, Va., alleges that Nextel engaged in unauthorized testing of prototype "push to talk" handsets that essentially let cellphones act as walkie-talkies. Nextel currently offers such a service and Verizon plans to launch one soon. Nextel dismissed the suit as "entirely without merit" and pledged a vigorous defense.

New York Community Bancorp Inc. announced a merger with Roslyn Bancorp Inc. Friday in an all-stock deal valued at $1.6 billion. The acquisition would create the largest savings-and-loan in New York in terms of assets and is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Both companies are based on Long Island. New York Community is in Westbury. Roslyn is in Jericho.

Details of a plan to streamline DaimlerChrysler's worldwide truck-building operations are to be announced Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company, which owns Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner, 50 percent of Hyundai, and 43 percent of Mitsubishi Fuso, is expected to keep manufacturing separate but to unify development, purchasing, and the sharing of such components as engines and axles. Mitsubishi Fuso is Japanese, Hyundai is South Korean, Freightliner has a large share of the US heavy-truck market, and Mercedes-Benz light trucks are sold in Europe and South America. DaimlerChrysler's commercial vehicles division lost $392 million last year and in the first quarter of 2003 netted only $15.9 million even though sales were $7 billion.

Volkswagen and other major manufacturers in eastern Germany welcomed the decision of the nation's largest industrial union to end four weeks of strikes aimed at achieving shorter working hours for its members. An IG Metall spokesman said the union's "struggle has failed, and there is no real chance to sustain strikes any further." The union had threatened to extend the walkouts to the more prosperous western Germany as well. But since they began, the nation's economy - mired in a three-year slump - has contracted by a further 0.2 percent, and in May unemployment reached 4.45 million, a five-year high.

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