Business & Finance

Declaring victory by a "slim but sufficient" margin, Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina said the company's shareholders had approved a controversial $21 billion merger with Compaq Computer Corp. Tuesday. The final tally is not expected to be announced for weeks. Fiorina has staked her job on the deal, despite fierce opposition from the Hewlett and Packard families. By contrast, all indications pointed to an overwhelming thumbs up as Compaq shareholders voted Wednesday.

Efforts to sell Arthur Andersen LLP's non-US operations to Netherlands-based rival KPMG may run afoul of the European Union's governing commission, according to the Financial Times. While EU authorities haven't weighed in yet on the proposed deal, which would cut the number of global accounting firms from five to four, it's bound to raise competition concerns, the newspaper said. Andersen is struggling for survival amid federal and other charges over its auditing of collapsed energy giant Enron Corp.

EMI, the world's third-largest music company, will lay off 1,800 workers, cut its annual dividend to shareholders for the first time in four years, and step up the pace of purging faded stars from what a senior executive called its "bloated" talent roster. The British-owned company made headlines earlier this year by buying out the contract of singer Mariah Carey for $28 million. In the last two years, EMI failed in merger attempts with German rival Bertelsmann and with Warner Music.

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