News In Brief

ACNielsen Corp., one of the world's leading market research groups, agreed to be acquired by Dutch publisher VNU for $2.3 billion, the companies announced. The deal will reunite Stamford, Conn.-based Nielsen with its former TV ratings unit, Nielsen Media Research, which was bought by VNU for $2.5 billion in August 1999. VNU's headquarters are in Haarlem, the Netherlands.

Through layoffs and attrition, insurance giant Aetna plans to reduce its workforce by 12.5 percent, or 5,000 people, the company announced. The job cuts are part of a larger effort to save $200 million next year as Aetna focuses on its health-coverage business. The moves will result in fourth-quarter charges of at least $335 million, it said. Aetna is based in Hartford, Conn.

Amid signals that its losses this year could hit $1 billion, Ford Motor Co.'s European division is considering deep job cuts beyond the 1,350 axed when it closed an assembly plant near London in May, The Financial Times reported. The newspaper said discussions have centered on a 10 percent reduction to try to return the company to profitability by 2002. Ford Europe executives have been told by consultants that, at 50,000 people, the company's workforce is at least 20 percent larger than necessary.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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