News In Brief

A deal worth about $17.5 billion that would involve the takeover of Dresdner Bank AG, Germany's third-largest, by insurance giant Allianz is expected to be announced as soon as next week, The Times (London) reported. Allianz said only that negotiations are "in advanced stages." But if completed, the merger would create a company with a market value of about $100 billion patterned after the US's Citigroup, offering insurance products, asset management, and retail, private, and investment banking. Allianz is based in Munich; Dresdner Bank in Frankfurt.

Sky Chefs, the in-flight catering service used by many airlines, is to be sold to the German carrier Lutfhansa for $1 billion, effective June 1, the latter said. Sky Chefs is a subsidiary of Toronto-based Onex Corp.

NorthPoint Communications failed to raise enough cash to maintain its high-speed Internet access service and advised clients to expect termination "immediately." The bankrupt Emeryville, Calif., DSL provider agreed last week to sell most of its assets to AT&T for $135 million, and continues to look for buyers for the rest. NorthPoint is believed to have a subscriber base of 100,000 businesses.

The pace of layoffs quickened, with:

* Delphi Automotive Systems, the world's largest supplier of vehicle parts, announcing it will eliminate 11,500 jobs, close or sell nine assembly plants, and take an after-tax charge of $400 million. The Troy, Mich., company is a spinoff of General Motors.

* British retail giant Marks & Spencer indicating it will cut 4,400 positions, close all 38 of its stores in continental Europe, and sell its Brooks Brothers and King Super Markets holdings in the US, plus 10 stores in Hong Kong.

* Six plants to be closed and 1,780 jobs to be eliminated by Danone, the French processed-foods group whose brands include Dannon yogurt, Evian bottled water, and LU cookies. Last year, the company paid $1.1 billion for McKesson Water Products of Alhambra, Calif., and tried, but failed, to buy Quaker Oats and Nabisco.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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