The bidding war for Champion International intensified as International Paper (IP) sweetened its previous $6.2 billion offer by $1.1 billion. That topped the latest proposal from UPM-Kymmene of Finland by $200 million. UPM agreed to a friendly merger with Stamford, Conn.-based Champion in February, but IP muscled in on the arrangement. If, as expected, Champion determines IP's latest bid to be superior, UPM will have three days to respond, as outlined in their existing deal. The agreement also provides for UPM to receive $200 million if Champion breaks it. IP is based in Purchase, N.Y.
The home base of the largest Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Britain was bracing for the expected announcement tomorrow that at least 2,000 jobs will be cut almost immediately and that the facility will close by the end of next year, leaving only a shop that turns out engines. Dagenham, 12 miles east of London, has a workforce of 7,700 people. A spokesman for the Transport and General Workers Union called the plan "unacceptable ... corporate greed." But a Ford official cited "massive overcapacity" in auto production in Europe.
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