Business & Finance

Raytheon Co. plans to hire an additional 1,000 engineers by 2005 to work on a national missile-defense system, a spokesman for its Integrated Defense Systems unit said. Raytheon is the nation's fourth-largest defense contractor.

News Corp. won conditional approval from the Federal Communications Commission Friday to acquire a controlling stake in DirectTV, the nation's largest satellite-TV provider. The Justice Department also said it would not block the $6.6 billion deal on antitrust grounds, despite opposition by some consumer groups. Australian tycoon Rupert Murdoch's media/entertainment holdings also include Fox News and and other cable TV networks, movie studios, and newspapers.

Parmalat, one of the world's leading marketers of dairy products, was searching for a way out of deep trouble that a leading Italian banker called "worse than anything imaginable." The Parma-based company's problems surfaced last week when it almost defaulted on a $186.5 million bond payment. They were compounded by Standard & Poor's, which downgraded its creditworthiness to the lowest rating for missing a deadline to buy out shareholders in one of its subsidiaries. On Friday, Parmalat admitted it can't account for $4.91 billion it claimed to have in an account with Bank of America - which the latter certified does not exist. Meanwhile, the company was dropped from the Italian Stock Exchange's blue-chip index and trading in its shares was suspended after their value plunged from $2.74 to $1.09. In between, it replaced its founding chairman and shook up its executive board. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi pledged Saturday that his government would intervene to keep Parmalat out of bankruptcy but did not offer details. The company sells milk, yogurt, fruit juices, and baked goods in 30 countries. It also owns three cookie bakeries in the US: Archway, Salerno, and Mother's.

Janus Capital Group said it will repay $31.5 million made through improper trades. The Denver-based company also announced tighter controls Friday on its management of mutual funds. Janus is among several firms under investigation by federal and state regulators in a wide-ranging scandal over mutual-fund trades but has not been formally charged with wrongdoing.

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