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Medtronic Inc., the world's No. 1 medical devicemaker, agreed to pay $3.6 billion for MiniMed Inc. and a smaller privately held affiliate, Medical Research Group. The purchases give Minneapolis-based Medtronic a strong presence in the diabetes-treatment market. MiniMed, based in Northridge, Calif., makes pumps and monitoring systems for persons with the disease.

As expected, plans to sell its 10 percent stake in Sprint, the US's third-largest long-distance phone company, were announced by France Telecom, a move that the government-owned company said it hopes will yield $1.7 billion.

Struggling retailer CompUSA Inc. plans to cut 700 jobs, about 4 percent of its work force, a senior executive announced. The company did not say when the layoffs would occur, but it expects the move to result in yearly savings of about $30 million. Once a major consumer destination for hardware, software, and accessories, Dallas-based CompUSA lost market share in the 1990s. It has begun focusing on small and medium-size businesses and is shifting service for those customers to new national sales groups. The company was acquired last year by Mexican conglomerate Grupo Sanborns.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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