Business & Finance

Wellington Management Co. acknowledged that the Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into its trading practices. Wellington advises 250 mutual fund portfolios. Although the SEC declined to comment, other recent probes into the industry have focused on allowing selected customers to execute trades after the market closes and on "market timing," a practice that exploits differences between a fund's share price and those of securities in its portfolio.

Deeply troubled engineering giant Alstom SA announced plans to save 20,000 jobs in France through measures such as an initial public offering of up to $1.44 billion, the sell-off of 10 percent of its assets, and a debt-for-equity swap of at least $500 million. The proposal, which chairman Patrick Kron said he expects the European Union to approve by the end of next month, would make the French government Alstom's largest shareholder. That would continue a tradition in which the government has stepped in to defend such other companies as Air France and banking giant Crédit Lyonnais, which have been seen as vital to the economy. Alstom has built the Queen Mary 2 luxury liner; the high-speed trains TGV and Eurostar; subway cars for New York, London, and Singapore; and power stations that generate one-fifth of the world's electricity. But it said Tuesday its net loss for the fiscal year ending March 31 was $2.2 billion, compared to the $1.45 billion forecast by industry analysts.

In a deal valued at $1.93 billion, the largest defense contractor in Italy, Finnmeccanica SpA, will buy the remaining shares in helicopter builder AgustaWestland it doesn't already own, Bloomberg.com reported. Since its founding four years ago, AgustaWestland of Somerset, England, has been co-owned by GKN, a leading British maker of auto and aircraft parts.

For the second time in two months, NeighborCare Inc., a pharmacy and medical-supply services chain, rejected a takeover offer from rival Omnicare Inc., the largest US provider of pharmacy and related services. In turning down the $1.5 billion overture, NeighborCare called it "a cynical attempt" to seize the long-term value and success of a company that "rightly belongs to shareholders and other constituencies." NeighborCare is based in Baltimore; Omnicare in Covington, Ky.

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