Business & Finance

Sportswear giant Adidas-Solomon stepped up its challenge to arch-rival Nike Inc. by buying Reebok for $3.8 billion in what chief executive Herbert Hainer called a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." The fused businesses will have about a 21 percent share of the huge US athletic shoe market, compared to Nike's 36 percent. The deal also gives Adidas access to Reebok's clothing licenses with the National Football League and National Basketball Association. Reebok is based in Canton, Mass.; Adidas-Solomon in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

An improved buyout offer of $6.4 billion still isn't enough, the world's largest producer of gypsum drywall said, setting up the prospect of a hostile takeover fight. The board of BPB PLC called the proposal by building-materials giant Saint-Gobain of France "unwelcome" and said it would not hesitate to recommend that shareholders reject it. Originally, Saint-Gobain offered $5.9 billion. BPB is based in Slough, England.

Dynegy, the Houston company that has felt the aftershocks of Enron's collapse more closely than most others in the energy business, said it will sell its natural gas- processing business to Targa Resources Inc. for $2.48 billion. The deal means that privately held Targa, which also is based in Houston, will have 11,000 miles of pipelines stretching from Mississippi to New Mexico, the Houston Chronicle reported. Dynegy, which has been trying to avoid bankruptcy in Enron's wake, has positioned itself solely as an electric utility primed for consolidation with other energy companies.

Investors in Enron won another major financial victory Tuesday, when Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) agreed to pay $2.4 billion to settle claims that it helped conceal heavy losses at the collapsed energy trader. The sum is the largest to date among Enron's former bankers. In June, J.P. Morgan Chase and Citigroup each agreed to compensate investors by $2.2 billion. CIBC is based in Toronto, and analysts noted that the payment will be larger than its profit for fiscal 2004.

With interest growing in the development of western Canada's oil sands, Deer Creek Energy Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta, said it has agreed to be acquired for $1.12 billion by a subsidiary of France's Total SA. Deer Creek controls 84 percent of a project that ultimately is expected to yield 200,000 barrels a day of crude from northern Alberta's Athabasca sands. On Tuesday, the Canadian operator of a pipeline that services the Athabasca region was taken over by Kinder Morgan of Houston for $5.6 billion.

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