Business & Finance

In a landmark decision, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers were found by a jury in New York Monday to be two separate incidents. The decision means that leaseholder Larry Silverstein can collect up to $4.6 billion to rebuild the site, although the claim still must be taken before a three-member panel of appraisal. Silverstein had insured the center for $3.5 billion. Nine insurance companies involved in the case, notably Travelers Indemnity and Allianz, are expected to appeal the decision.

Johnson & Johnson, the healthcare product giant, is in advanced negotiations for a megamerger with Guidant Corp., a cardiac-device maker based in Indianapolis, The New York Times reported. It said the deal would be worth more than $24 billion.

In a deal valued at $3.1 billion, medical instrument manufacturer and kidney-clinic operator DaVita Inc. will buy the US dialysis clinics of Gambro AB, the companies announced. Gambro's US operations have been at the center of disputes with authorities over alleged overcharging, the Financial Times reported. The company is based in Stockholm; DaVita in El Segundo, Calif.

Colgate-Palmolive Co., a leading maker of personal care products and household cleansers, said it will cut its global workforce by about 4,400 people as part of a four-year restructuring plan. The company plans to close 25 of its 78 factories as it seeks to centralize operations.

Wrapping up one of the most tumultuous years in its history, the British Broadcasting Corp. announced 2,900 layoffs as part of a new austerity plan. The cuts will affect mostly off-air personnel, the broadcaster said, and will help save $624 million a year. The BBC's top two executives resigned last winter after a high-level investigation slammed its journalism and management over a controversial broadcast that claimed the government had "sexed up" intelligence on Iraq's weapons program.

As many as 300 jobs will be cut by banking giant Credit Suisse as it fully absorbs its First Boston investment division and spins off its Winterthur insurance unit, reports said. A senior executive said the restructuring would take at least 18 months to complete. The First Boston division, he said, has underperformed since the collapse of the high-tech stock market four years ago. Winterthur, which Credit Suisse bought in 1997 for $10 billion, no longer is considered a core business, the executive said.

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