Mead Corp. and Westvaco Corp. agreed to merge in a $3 billion stock swap that combines two midsized paper companies. The new firm, named MeadWestvaco, is expected to generate more than $8 million in revenue with core operations in packaging, coated and specialty papers, consumer and office products, and specialty chemicals. MeadWestvaco's headquarters will be in Stamford, Conn., with some operations in Dayton, Ohio.
Gateway Corp., the embattled computer retailer, cut 4,700 jobs - a quarter of its global workforce - and pulled the plug on operations in Asia as part of a new strategy that moves it further from its roots as a low-cost manufacturer. They are in addition to 3,000 layoffs announced earlier this year. About 15 percent of the company's 16,500 US workers will lose their jobs, due to closures of sales and customer-service centers. Gateway also recently shut its European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and 27 US retail outlets.
Struggling Lucent Technologies shut down its Chromatis Networks fiber-optics division 15 months after buying it, the Financial Times reported. The $4.5 billion all-stock purchase of Chromatis, whose operations are in Israel, was the largest corporate takeover in that country's history. The closure affects 150 employees, the report said.
Toshiba Corp. took another hit to its pride as two major credit-rating services downgraded its long-term debt outlook from stable to negative. The decisions by Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service came on the heels of the announcement Monday by Toshiba that it will lay off 17,000 workers. Japan's largest maker of semiconductors also revised its earnings forecast from a $500 million profit to a $958 million loss.