Business & Finance

Qwest Communications was back for a third try at buying MCI, but apparently only until Tuesday at the latest, news reports said. Qwest, which twice has seen MCI accept lower offers from Verizon, was invited to return to takeover discussions after sweetening its bid to almost $9 billion. But Qwest executives urged MCI's board "to cease its favoritism ... and run a fair, transparent, complete, and timely sales process." MCI is leaning toward accepting Verizon's $7.5 billion bid, reportedly because of MCI's stronger financial status.

Hip-deep in turmoil, investment banking giant Morgan Stanley begins the week by trying to regroup after its president quit rather than accept a demotion and eight former senior executives placed an advertisement in The Wall Street Journal calling for the ouster of chairman Philip Purcell. Purcell's top deputies were gathering signatures of employees who support him as a way of pressuring the "group of eight" to drop their effort. Meanwhile, The Independent newspaper in London reported Sunday that the huge British financial services company HSBC is considering a possible $75 billion bid to take over Morgan Stanley should the latter end up on the auction block.

MetLife Inc. said it is selling the former Pan Am building in midtown Manhattan for $1.72 billion. Tishman Speyer Properties LP, a New York real estate company that owns Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Center, will buy the landmark, but lease a significant part of it back to MetLife, which will keep its headquarters there.

DaimlerChrysler will spend as much as $1.56 billion to overhaul its money-losing Smart car division, cutting two models and 700 jobs in the process, the automaker said. The so-called "city car" is highly fuel-efficient and small enough that two can fit in a parking space needed by a standard American sedan. But the Smart has lost about $3 billion since coming on the market in Europe in 1998.

Celestica Inc., a Canadian electronics manufacturer that is consolidating its US operations, said it will close its Fort Collins, Colo., plant, within a year. The move will cost 800 employees their jobs. Celestica previously announced closings in Mount Pleasant, Iowa; Raleigh, N.C.; and Salem, N.H.

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