News In Brief

Comcast Corp. made an unsolicited $44.5 billion offer for top cable TV provider AT&T Broadband. The merger would create a cable TV and high-speed Web access giant, giving Comcast - the No. 3 US cable operator - 22 million cable subscribers and leading positions in eight of the top 10 US markets. The hostile bid was announced by Philadelphia-based Comcast after the company said merger negotiations with AT&T had fallen apart. Comcast said it hopes AT&T investors will pressure the company to agree to a merger deal before a shareholder vote later this month on plans to spin off AT&T Broadband. The offer came as New York-based AT&T announced the spinoff of its wireless operation into an independent firm, the first stage of a plan to break the communications conglomerate into five companies.

Korean banks enjoyed a tripling of combined net profits to $1.93 billion during the first half of the year. All but two of 17 banks were profitable, with Kookmin Bank posting the biggest gain. The leap, reported by the watchdog Financial Supervisory Service, was attributed to rising commission earnings and lower loan loss provisions, as well as a more competitive environment brought on by restructuring.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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