Business & Finance

Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise operator, will this week issue its latest statement in its bidding war for UK-rival P&O Princess Cruises PLC, an industry source said. The British firm has given Carnival a Jan. 18 deadline to improve its offer as it attempts to lure P&O Princess shareholders from a $7 billion merger deal with rival Royal Caribbean. The world's three biggest cruise lines are engaged in a bid battle as they seek cost-cutting alliances to counter a slump in passenger numbers since the Sept. 11 attacks on the US.

South Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc. refused at the weekend to confirm a report that US-based Micron Technology plans to buy some of its computer memory chip operations for between $4 billion and $5 billion. The Korea Daily News reported Friday that Micron will set up a new company after taking over Hynix's dynamic random access memory chip operations. The companies, which together control 38 percent of the world's memory chip market, are in talks to form a strategic alliance.

AT&T Corp., the nation's largest long-distance phone

company, announced plans Friday to cut 5,000 jobs this year, or about 6 percent of its workforce. That's on top of the 5,100 layoffs announced in 2001, along with the sale of the company's cable and broadband unit. The staff there will not be affected by the layoffs. More than half of the latest reductions will be from management positions, the company said. The rest will be from AT&T's business services and consumer long-distance operations.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a California company have filed a lawsuit claiming 94 firms illegally used their patented image-editing software. MIT says Electronics for Imaging Inc., of Foster City, Calif., has an exclusive license for the software, developed by one of its professors and used in products such as photo scanners and digital cameras. In the suit filed last week in federal court in Texarcana, Texas, EFI demands the firms pay license fees for the past six years. Firms named in the suit include Microsoft, Polaroid, IBM, and Photoworks.

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