News In Brief

Boeing has chosen Chicago as its new corporate headquarters, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported. The city had been competing with Dallas and Denver for the prize since March, when Boeing announced plans to move from its Seattle home of 85 years. The aviation giant said it wants to save money and establish itself in a location more central to its operations, which are spread over 26 states. The new location is expected to employ almost 500 people, but Boeing will keep its aircraft factories and design facilities near Seattle.

In the face of massive debt load, British Telecom announced its second restructuring plan in six months. Among the features: splitting off its mobile-phone division, BT Wireless, into a separate company, with a transfer of up to $3.25 billion of the overall debt; suspending dividend payments; and asking shareholders for an infusion of $5.9 billion in cash via an issue of new, cut-rate stock. BT also said it may sell its Yellow Pages unit. Before the sale last week of assets in Japan and Spain, BT was staggering under $43 billion worth of debt. Despite the new moves, Standard & Poor's downgraded both the company's long- and short-term credit ratings from "A" to "A-minus" and "A-1" to "A-2," respectively.

FelCor Lodging Trust Inc. said it will acquire MeriStar Hospitality Corp. for $1.1 billion in cash and stock, plus the assumption of $1.6 billion in debt. The deal makes FelCor the owner of more hotels than any other real estate investment trust in the US. FelCor, which operates Hilton, Sheraton, and Radisson hotels, is based in Irving, Texas. Washington-based MeriStar also owns Hilton and Sheraton properties as well as hotels under the Westin, Marriott, Embassy Suites, and Doubletree names.

For the third time in the past month, Siemens announced a round of layoffs. The German high-tech conglomerate said it would cut 2,000 more jobs from its information and communications networking unit, bringing to 8,100 the number of employees let go since April 10.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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