Business & Finance

Apparently succeeding where others have failed, the state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. announced what's believed to be the first takeover of a foreign-owned energy producer by a company from the giant communist nation. CNPC said it will pay $4.2 billion for PetroKazakhstan, whose headquarters are in Calgary, Alberta, although all its operations are in the former Soviet republic. Analysts, however, cautioned that the deal still must be OK'd by PetroKazakh-stan's shareholders and that the latter company has tenuous relations with Kazakhstan's government as well as with OAO Lukoil, its Russian partner in a joint venture. The buyout by CNPC follows a series of unsuccessful attempts by Chinese oil companies to acquire foreign energy producers, the latest coming last month, when China Offshore Oil Corp. lost a takeover battle for Unocal Corp. of the US.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the US private equity giant, and a partner will buy SBS Broadcasting of Luxembourg for about $2.5 billion, reports said. SBS operates TV and radio stations in Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, Hungary, Romania, and Greece that reach more than 100 million people. The deal, however, must be approved by European Union antitrust regulators. KKR's partner in the buyout is Permira Advisers Ltd. of London.

Appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. appeared to have the field to itself in pursuing rival Maytag after a published report Monday said that buyout specialist Ripplewood Holdings had decided against upping its $1.13 billion offer. The Wall Street Journal cited a "person familiar with the matter" as its source. The report said, however, that Ripplewood would not withdraw the bid and potentially still could emerge with control of Maytag if regulators block Whirlpool on antitrust grounds. Whirlpool has offered $1.7 billion.

In a deal valued at just under $1 billion in cash and stock, OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Melville, N.Y., said it will acquire Eyetech Pharmaceuticals, a struggling maker of drugs used to treat vision problems. Eyetech is based in New York City.

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