General Motors announced that it and partner Fiat would begin negotiations on buying assets of troubled Daewoo Motor Co., South Korea's second-largest automaker. GM, which had a 15-year alliance with Daewoo until 1992, has long been interested the company as a way to expand further into Asia's markets. But the world's largest auto-maker lost out to Ford in June for the right to enter exclusive talks with Daewoo. Ford, however, abruptly pulled out of negotiations last month. Daewoo Motor, one of 12 companies in the Daewoo Group rescued last August by creditors, lost $3.9 billion on revenues of $5 billion last year.
The largest in a string of major corporate bankruptcies in Japan was announced by Chiyoda Mutual, a mid-sized life insurance company. A senior executive said Chiyoda had filed for court protection against its creditors after reporting debts of $26.9 billion.
The maker of Sensodyne toothpaste, Poli-Grip denture adhesive, and other healthcare products will be sold to British pharmaceutical giant SmithKline Beecham, the latter announced. The acquisition of Jersey City, N.J.-based Block Drug Co. was valued at $1.24 billion. It is not expected to affect SmithKline's megamerger with Glaxo Wellcome, which is before US and European regulators.
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