Business & Finance
Cendant Corp., the real estate and leisure services giant, announced one of the biggest breakups in US history. The company will split into four separate units next summer and will retire its current name, saying, "We and our advertisers believe the sum of the parts has a value in excess of our current share price." The largest will be real estate, comprising the Century 21, Coldwell Banker, and NRT Inc. chains. The others: vehicle rentals (Avis and Budget); hospitality (Ramada, Days Inn, and Howard Johnson hotels); and travel services (Orbitz, Galileo International, Cheap Tickets, and ebookers PLC).
Mittal Group, the world's largest steel company, submitted the winning bid at auction Monday for control of the huge Kryvorizhstal mill in Ukraine. The price, $4.8 billion, was higher than analysts had predicted the mill would fetch - 20 percent higher, in fact, than all other privatizations in the former Soviet republic combined. The sell-off was a campaign promise of new President Viktor Yushchenko.
General Motors declined to confirm reports that it will sell its share of a joint truck-sales venture in Australia and South Africa to Isuzu of Japan. But an Isuzu spokesman suggested that only the timing of the deal is in question. Isuzu owns 60 percent of the venture; GM 40 percent. GM, which has posted four straight quarterly losses, said earlier this month it will sell its 20 percent stake in Subaru, the automaking arm of Japan's Fuji Heavy Industries.
Saying, "There are no more reasons to wait," the government of France announced an initial public offering of stock in EDF, the state-owned electric utility. The sale is expected to come as soon as Friday and is projected to raise as much as $11 billion. The government will maintain 85 percent ownership and has pledged to invest up to $48 billion in the company over the next five years. But the plan is bitterly opposed by the opposition Socialist Party, which has vowed to renationalize EDF if it wins the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The company responsible for a special category of Americana, Kullman Industries, filed for bankruptcy. The 78-year-old Lebanon, N.J., company manufactures modular buildings for branch banks, healthcare clinics, school annexes, and the like but is best known for the hundreds of stainless steel diners that dot roadsides across the US.