Business & Finance

The government settled its long airwaves battle with NextWave Telecom Inc. with a $16 billion deal that could improve service for mobile-phone customers in dozens of major US cities. Under the agreement, NextWave would give up its wireless airwaves, which will then be purchased by such mobile phone carriers as Verizon and AT&T Wireless to fill coverage gaps in congested markets. NextWave won the airwaves in a 1996 government auction, but paid just $500 million of its $4.7 billion bid before seeking bankruptcy protection from creditors, largely the FCC. The deal still must be endorsed by Congress, the Justice Department, and a New York bankruptcy judge.

Telecommunications equipment maker Tellabs Inc. plans to cut 1,000 more jobs, or nearly 14 percent of its workforce, and close two US plants in its latest cost-cutting efforts. Lisle, Ill.-based Tellabs, whose gear is used to transmit data, video, and voice signals, will close a manufacturing facility in Round Rock, Texas, and a research and development facility in Plymouth, Minn.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. will cut 1,000 jobs, or 2 percent of its workforce, as part of a move to refocus itself as a pure pharmaceutical company. More layoffs are possible as the reorganization continues through mid-2002, a spokesman for the New York-based company said. Cuts would affect all divisions, although the nine sites in New Jersey would suffer most, losing 350 jobs.

About 2,600 workers for Merrill Lynch & Co. accepted a buyout package the brokerage offered in an attempt to reduce its costs, the company said. Those leaving represent 3.9 percent of its workforce. Merrill Lynch offered buyouts last month to 50,000 of the firm's 65,900 workers.

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