Business & Finance

The planned $3.1 billion sale of Intelsat Ltd. to Zeus Holdings Ltd. hit a snag Sunday when one of the former's 23 orbiting satellites encountered an electrical problem that may have ruined it, the Financial Times reported. Zeus reserves the right to back out of the deal if the satellite, which serves the US, Canada, Central America, and parts of South America, is determined to be inoperative. Whether the replacement cost is covered by insurance was not immediately clear. Zeus and Intelsat both are based in Bermuda.

The right to tap into one of the world's least-developed cellphone markets was won by Telekom Austria, which said it was granted an option to buy MobilTel of Bulgaria for $2.12 billion in cash and assumed debt. Completion of the deal is expected to be announced by year's end. It takes on special significance, analysts said, because fewer than half of Bulgaria's 8 million people own cellphones. Telekom Austria also is pursuing such takeover targets as Mobtel of Serbia and Eronet of Bosnia. Meanwhile Deutsche Telekom of Germany, Swisscom AG, and industry leader Vodafone have been targeting merger possibilities in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Romania because the growth potential there is greater than in Western Europe.

A hostile takeover fight in the mining industry took a new turn when a court in South Africa blocked Harmony Gold from trying to thwart the merger between rival Gold Fields Ltd. and IAMGOLD Corp. The court said Harmony may not use any of its shares in Gold Fields to vote against consolidating with IAMGOLD until the terms of its rejected $6.7 billion bid for Gold Fields are examined. Harmony vowed to appeal the ruling, The Wall Street Journal reported, arguing that the Gold Fields-IAMGOLD merger is misguided. Harmony and Gold Fields are based in South Africa. IAMGOLD's headquarters are in Toronto.

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