News In Brief

The unsolicited $39.5 billion takeover bid for AT&T's cable division by Comcast was rejected as too small, reports said. The Financial Times said it learned that "people close to AT&T" value the broadband unit at more than $70 billion - at least $17 billion higher than the Comcast offer. But industry analysts were cautioning that no other rival may be able to outbid Comcast, even though AT&T announced it would effectively open the door to other offers via a search for "financial and strategic alternatives." AT&T Broadband is the US's largest cable operator but is not among the most profitable, the Financial Times said.

Firestone officials would not confirm a published report that their company was told by a federal agency it should recall additional, potentially unsafe tires. A spokesman, responding to the account in USA Today, said only that the unit of Japan's Bridgestone Corp. had met with National Highway Transportation Safety Administration representatives. The newspaper said Firestone was given until today to respond to the NHTSA on when a new recall should begin and how many tires it should involve. Firestone announced a voluntary recall of 6.5 million tires last summer. More than 200 deaths and 700 injuries have been linked to Firestone tires mounted as standard equipment on Ford Explorer SUVs. The companies have terminated their business relationship.

K2, a leading maker of skis, snowboards, inline skates, and other sporting goods, said it will close plants in Washington state, Minnesota, and Alabama, moving production to China and laying off 450 workers. The company is based in Los Angeles.

Anheuser-Busch, the US brewer and amusement park giant, is a leading candidate to buy Beck's, the internationally popular German beer, reports said. The latter was put up for sale yesterday by Brauerei Beck & Co. of Bremen, which said it recorded sales of $740 million last year.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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