Business & Finance

Reversing course, the value of shares in Groupe Danone, the French food-marketing giant, was plunging on European exchanges Monday in the wake of its announcement that American beverage company PepsiCo isn't preparing a takeover bid after all. The Associated Press reported the same information, saying PepsiCo has notified French regulators of its lack of interest. Danone's stock lost 9 percent, or more than $2.4 billion, as trading opened on the Paris exchange, but had recovered 2 percent by midday. Over the past two weeks, Danone shares gained more than 20 percent on speculation that a bid of up to $36 billion might be forthcoming from PepsiCo. Danone sells Dannon yogurt, Evian bottled water, and LU cookies.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the largest publicly traded company in Israel, signed a definitive agreement Monday to buy Miami drug manufacturer IVAX Corp. for about $7.4 billion in cash and stock. The deal is the largest acquisition yet by an Israeli company and vaults Teva back ahead of Switzerland's Novartis as the world's biggest maker of generic drugs.

Saying, "There is no real hurry to sell this asset," Vodafone brushed off reports that it has found three potential buyers for Arcor, its land-line telephone subsidiary in Germany. The would-be buyers were identified Monday by the German language edition of the Financial Times, which said Arcor is worth between $1.2 billion and $2.4 billion. Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin conceded, however, that the unit doesn't fit within his company's long-term strategy. He also told a conference call that Vodafone added a net of 4.1 million new subscribers in the first quarter, its strongest growth in five years. Vodafone is the world's largest cellphone service provider.

Boeing, already under contract to build 63 passenger jets for discount airline GOL Linhas Aereas Intelegentes, has been asked to increase that order to 101, reports said. The carrier, based in São Paulo, Brazil, currently flies only domestic routes but is planning to expand service later this year to destinations in Uruguay, Paraguay, and Bolivia.

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