News In Brief

Healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson was both a winner and a loser in multimillion-dollar legal settlements late last week, reports said. A federal court in Wilmington, Del., awarded the company a $324 million damage settlement from Natick, Mass.-based Boston Scientific Corp. in a patent infringement case, although the latter called the ruling "excessive" and said it would appeal. In an unrelated case, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay $60 million in fines and damages resulting from a federal probe of its diabetes treatment practices and acknowledged that it still is open to legal claims from individual patients. Johnson & Johnson is based in New Brunswick, N.J.

A new banking powerhouse was awaiting the OK of regulators in Britain after Abbey National PLC filed notice of intent to merge with the Bank of Scotland. London-based Abbey National is the United Kingdom's second-largest mortgage lender and is a leading general- and life-insurance carrier. Terms of the proposed merger were not reported. However, Abbey itself is the target of a takeover bid by larger rival Lloyds TSB and has rejected an unsolicited offer reportedly worth $28 billion. Lloyds, which planned to file its own merger proposal with the Office of Fair Trading as soon as today, would eliminate 16,000 jobs if it succeeds in acquiring Abbey National, the newspaper Sunday Business reported.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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