Auto giant DaimlerChrysler refused to comment on a published report that it is planning to lay off 10,000 employees. On Saturday, the German newspaper Die Welt said a consultant hired by the company had determined that its Mercedes-Benz division, in particular, could withstand a reduced payroll without affecting quality because of technical innovations that have improved productivity. Citing unidentified sources within the company, Die Welt said as many of the cuts as possible would come through attrition.
Aetna Inc., Cigna Corp., and MetLife confirmed they have received subpoenas from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, whose office is looking into fee-agreement incentives paid to insurance brokers. Aetna and Cigna are two of the largest US health insurers; MetLife the largest life insurer. The companies all said they'd cooperate with the inquiry into what brokers consider a long-held standard practice that is no secret to clients, but which the public advocacy group Washington Legal Foundation says could compromise the brokers' fiduciary responsibilities. MetLife is based in New York, Cigna in Philadelphia, and Aetna in Hartford, Conn.
A deal to create the world's largest casino company stalled Friday when Mandalay Resort Group rejected a $4.85 billion cash offer from MGM Mirage Inc. Mandalay's board called the bid insufficient. A source close to the negotiations told the Associated Press that MGM Mirage's request for a 15-month option to pull out of the deal also was a sticking point. If the buyout effort eventually succeeds, MGM Mirage would wind up owning about half the 73,000 hotel rooms on the Las Vegas Strip.
The clothing unit of Sara Lee Corp. announced late last week that it will lay off 3,825 employees, mostly at plants in Puerto Rico, Honduras, and Mexico. Only about 350 jobs will be cut at the division's Winston-Salem, N.C., headquarters and its Asheboro, N.C. plant. Sara Lee makes Champion, Playtex, and Wonderbra products. In a report, the Financial Times said the cuts are a response to the expected surge of clothing imports from Asia, and especially China, once a global textile tariff is removed later this year.