News In Brief

Motorola has begun negotiations to acquire General Instrument Corp., the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal reported. The deal, valued at about $10 billion, would bring together one of the best-known consumer-electronics manufacturers with the cable industry's leading provider of cable-TV set-top boxes.

Their differences patched up, two rival oil companies OK'd a friendly merger that - if approved by regulators and shareholders - would result in the industry's fourth-largest. TotalFina said it would hike its takeover offer for Elf Aquitaine from $43 billion to $52 billion. Elf Aquitaine rejected the original, unsolicited bid in July, filed suit against it, and made a $51 billion counteroffer. Both companies are French-owned.

A record $30.5 billion was loaned to member nations by the International Monetary Fund in the fiscal year ending April 30, the agency's annual report said. Borrowers were led by Brazil, which took almost one-third of the total as its economy was buffeted by the effects of financial crises elsewhere. But although executives said the worst of those crises are over, the annual report also noted that overdue payments on IMF loans rose last year. Deepest in debt is Sudan, which owes $1.57 billion - one-fifth of its gross national product.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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