Business & Finance
Bankrupt Enron Corp. proposes to change its name to OpCO Energy Co. and reorganize as a far smaller energy operator with $10 billion in assets in North and South America, The Wall Street Journal reported. The draft plan is to be presented to creditors today. Separately, talks on settling a class-action lawsuit by Enron shareholders against its former auditor, Arthur Andersen LLP, broke down. On Monday, Andersen goes on trial on federal obstruction-of-justice charges for shredding documents related to Enron's collapse, the biggest in corporate history.
Micron Technology said it no longer is interested in negotiating the takeover of deeply indebted South Korean chipmaker Hynix Semiconductor. Earlier this week, the latter's board unanimously rejected a $3 billion sale of prime assets to Micron, although the deal had the OK of management, creditors, and the Seoul government. The creditor banks now plan to convert their bonds into shares, giving them 75 percent control of the company and the power to overturn the board's decision. But Micron chief Steve Appleton said: "We are unable to discern a process that would allow the ... parties involved to reach agreement in a timely manner [and] are withdrawing from the Hynix negotiations." South Korea's finance minister called the rejection "regrettable and embarrassing."
Heavily in debt and behind in its goal to raise new cash, Telewest became the latest British cable-TV provider to announce deep austerity measures. The company said it would lay off 1,500 employees. Last month, rival NTL Inc. announced it would file for bankruptcy. ITV Digital, another competitor, collapsed and has initiated liquidation proceedings. Telewest owes creditors $7.3 billion.
Energy wholesaler Aquila Inc. said it will cut 500 jobs and sell off $550 million in assets, amid declining share prices and a 40-percent drop in first-quarter earnings. The bulk of the layoffs will come at its headquarters in Kansas City, Mo., the company said.