News In Brief

Bestfoods, maker of Skippy peanut butter and Hellmann's mayonnaise, accepted a sweetened $20.3 billion bid from European marketing giant Unilever Plc. A prior unsolicited offer for $18.4 billion was rejected about a month ago. The acquisition is the latest in a series for Unilever, which bought US ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's and SlimFast Foods Co. in April. As part of the current deal, Unilever is to assume about $4 billion in debt.

Clearing the final regulatory hurdle, AT&T won the approval of the Federal Communications Commission for its planned $50 billion acquisition of cable TV giant MediaOne Group Inc. But the agency conditioned its approval on AT&T ridding itself of some assets in order to comply with rules capping how many customers a single cable company can reach. The company could divest Media-One's 25 percent interest in systems owned by Time Warner, shed programming interests, or find other ways of cutting more than 9.7 million cable subscribers. AT&T has six months after closing the merger to decide what it will divest.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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