Business & Finance

Bankrupt cable-TV operator Adelphia Communications Co. is expected to seek court approval Wednesday of a buyout bid from Comcast and Time Warner that is believed to be $17.6 billion, the Financial Times reported. Meanwhile, however, citing sources it didn't identify, The Wall Street Journal said Tuesday that rival Cablevision Systems Corp. has upped its offer for Adelphia from $16.5 billion to $17.1 billion. Cablevision's efforts ultimately may have the greater appeal because of a larger cash component, the Journal reported, whereas about $5 billion of the Time Warner-Comcast offer is in shares of stock.

In a deal valued at $2.4 billion, General Electric's commercial financing unit agreed to buy its counterpart at Bombardier Inc., the Montreal engineering conglomerate, The Wall Street Journal reported. Bombardier Capital arranges loans for thousands of dealers in the US and Canada to stock their showrooms with pleasure boats, snowmobiles, and other recreational vehicles. Included in the deal is the assumption of $1 billion in Bombardier debt.

BASF, the chemical industry giant, announced it will buy back another $1.9 billion worth of its own stock, beginning immediately. The Ludwigshafen, Germany, company completed a buy-back worth $1.3 billion last month.

GameStop Corp., a leading retailer of videogames, said it will acquire rival Electronics Boutique Holdings for $1.44 billion in cash and stock. GameStop, based in Grapevine, Texas, operates more than 1,800 stores. Of Electronics Boutique's 2,000 stores, hundreds are in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. The company is based in West Chester, Pa.

Saying, "These transactions are an important investment in our future," Old Mutual PLC announced it will sell a 12.7 percent stake in its insurance and banking businesses in South Africa to blacks there. Analysts said the $1.15 billion deal is notable because it will empower ordinary people on as well as outside the staffs of Old Mutual's operations, rather than investors from the wealthy elite. Old Mutual is based in London but writes one in every three life insurance policies sold in South Africa.

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