News In Brief

General Motors' board of directors authorized the intensifying of negotiations with international media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. with a view to shedding the automaker's Hughes Electronics subsidiary. News Corp. is especially interested in Hughes' DirecTV, the largest satellite TV provider in the US. DirecTV also offers high-speed Internet access.

Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone company, will acquire two major holdings of rival British Telecom (BT) for $6.3 billion, the companies said. BT planned to apply the cash directly to its crushing $43 billion debt. The deal transfers to Vodafone BT's 20 percent stake in Japan Telecom and its cellphone subsidiary. It also raises Vodafone's ownership of Airtel Moviles of Spain to 92 percent.

The world's No. 2 contract food-service provider, Sodexho Alliance of France, upped its bid to $1.1 billion for the shares it doesn't already own in US spinoff Sodexho Marriott Inc. The latter, based in Gaithersburg, Md., offers catering, linen, custodial, and facilities-maintenance services. Sodexho Alliance performs identical services in 70 countries to clients ranging from college cafeterias and hospitals to offshore oil rigs.

Adobe Systems Inc. will require 2,000 of its US workers to take the first week in July off - to try to save about $4 million, officials said. The move by the San Jose, Calif.-based firm comes less than a week after rival softwaremaker Sun Microsystems made a similar announcement.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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