News In Brief

A record $1.14 trillion worth of business mergers was completed in 2000's first quarter, a financial tracking group reported. Figures provided by Newark, N.J.-based Thomson Financial Securities Data showed global merger volume in the Jan. 1-March 31 period was 68 percent higher than for the same quarter a year ago, led by Europe, where the number of deals rose from 3,346 in 1999 to 3,714. The data also showed a clear trend in the US: the shift of publicly traded companies into private hands. The value of such deals increased from $1.9 billion in the first three months of last year to $10.3 billion.

Board members were reacting favorably to a $10.6 billion friendly takeover offer for Credit Commercial de France (CCF), the nation's most profitable retail bank, by a London-based financial group. Reports said the all-cash bid by HSBC Holdings was acceptable to each of CCF's major shareholders, making it likely the deal will be completed. HSBC bought Republic New York Corp. for $10 billion last year, and now ranks third in the world in market capitalization, behind Citigroup and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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