News In Brief

Blaming a conflict over the shape of what was to be their combined company, Germany's Dresdner Bank called off its megamerger with rival Deutsche Bank. The month-old arrangement, which would have resulted in the world's largest financial institution, was valued at $30 billion. But Dresdner officials balked at their new partners' demand to sell off a London-based subsidiary, and reports said key people at both banks have been defecting to competitors out of concern for their future security.

BellSouth Corp. and SBC Communications Inc. announced they would combine their wireless phone businesses to create the second-largest player in the US mobile-telephone market. The combined company would have about $10.2 billion in revenue and 16.2 million subscribers. The expected deal follows a similar one completed Tuesday by Bell Atlantic and Vodafone AirTouch Plc. Their venture, which they said will be named Verizon, will be the country's biggest wireless phone company, with 28 million customers.

A bidding war for Atecs, the automotive and engineering spinoff of German conglomerate Mannesmann AG, has developed before an initial public offering could be launched by the company, reports from Munich said. Mannesmann's board last night was to discuss a surprise $8.4 billion offer by ThyssenKrupp AG of Dsseldorf March 31 and a joint bid yesterday by Siemens and Robert Bosch GmbH for $8.7 billion. There were no early indications which way the board would lean, since it had hoped Atecs could remain independent.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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