Business & Finance

General Electric agreed to pay $5.4 billion for the bulk of Transamerica Finance, the Chicago-based industrial finance division of Dutch insurance giant Aegon NV. The acquisition came a day after GE sold its bond insurance unit for $1.9 billion.

South Africa's AngloGold unveiled a near $1.1 billion agreed bid for Ashanti Goldfields of Ghana - a deal that would make it the world's biggest gold producer. The acquisition has the backing of London-based Lonmin, which holds a near 28 percent equity stake in Ashanti, the Financial Times reported. If the deal is successful, Ashanti chief executive Sam Jonah, the most powerful black executive in African mining, would join the board of the merged group.

Facing a cash crisis, French engineering group Alstom opened negotiations with creditors and requested suspension of trading in its shares in New York, London, and Paris for a second day. It was unclear when trading might resume. The deeply indebted maker of luxury cruise ships, high-speed trains, and power plants said its board was meeting to discuss an emergency bailout. Alstom shares have lost 90 percent of their value in two years.

To reduce steep debt, Swiss chemicals firm Clariant plans to sell $1.1 billion in assets and cut jobs, financial news service Bloomberg.com reported. The turnaround plan involves closing four agrochemical plants that employ 200 workers in the US and Germany.

Top Linux distributor Red Hat Inc. sued SCO Group, asking a federal court in Delaware to rule whether the open-source operating system infringes on SCO's copyrights, and to bar SCO from making "untrue" claims that hurt its business. SCO has sent warnings to hundreds of companies that use Linux, alleging it contains code from its Unix software. The company, based in Lindon, Utah, also filed a related $3 billion breach-of-contract suit against IBM.

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