News In Brief

FleetBoston Financial Corp., clinching a deal reported to be in the late negotiating stages last week, announced it would buy Summit Bancorp for $7 billion. The acquisition creates a bank with about $220 billion in assets. The deal was seen as fitting with FleetBoston's strategic aims, which include expanding its retail bank, money-management, and its commercial finance operations, analysts said. Princeton, N.J.-based Summit has branches in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. Fleet, with offices in New England and New York, also has a sizable presence in New Jersey after a 1996 acquisition there.

In other developments:

--Silicon Valley Group Inc. of San Jose, Calif., said it has agreed to be acquired by a Dutch semiconductor equipment rival, ASM Lithography, for $1.6 billion in stock. The deal makes ASM the world's largest maker of scanners that map the circuitry on silicon chips and gives it access to giant chipmaker Intel Corp., a prime Silicon Valley Group customer.

--One of the US's three major credit bureaus, Equifax, announced it will split into two independent companies, aiming to make its operations easier to understand and its stock more attractive to investors. Equifax said it will spin its payment services division off from information services by next summer.

--A $3.2 billion all-stock deal merging the largest and third-largest banks in Denmark was announced by Danske Bank and RealDanmark.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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