Business & Finance

US Airways said it would seek $950 million in wage and benefit concessions from employees and $1 billion in federally backed loans, in a last-ditch bid to avoid bankruptcy. The loan guarantees were approved by Congress to aid airlines in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. US Airways, which reportedly has the highest-paid workers in the industry, posted a $2 billion loss in 2001.

Schering-Plough Corp. agreed to a record fine of $500 million by the Food and Drug Administration after its four main production plants repeatedly failed quality-control inspections. Under a settlement subject to approval by a federal judge, Kenilworth, N.J.-based Schering-Plough also agreed to more rigorous monitoring at the facilities in New Jersey and Puerto Rico. Schering-Plough makes drugs such as Claritin and Clarinex as well as Coppertone and Bain de Soleil skin-tanning products.

A takeover of Napster, the online music-swapping service, by German multimedia giant Bertelsmann will take place after all, the latter announced. The deal appeared dead last Thursday, but by Friday the two sides OK'd an agreement that will pay Napster's creditors $8 million in exchange for the California-based website becoming a wholly owned subsidiary. Bertelsmann also will forgive an $85 million loan, and Napster's founder and chief executive will rejoin the company after quitting when the buyout appeared to collapse. Napster, which has been offline since last July, will file for bankruptcy protection as soon as this week but may yet have to compensate recording labels and publishers suing it for copyright infringement.

BellSouth Corp. said it would cut 5,000 more jobs as it seeks to remain competitive. The US's third-largest local phone-service provider laid off 4,200 workers at the end of last year.

Home Shopping Network said it will pull the plug on its Spanish-language service because of a too-low sales volume. A senior executive said the company discovered that Spanish-speaking viewers largely preferred to place orders through the network's English-language channel. The closure will affect 75 employees at Home Shopping Español in St. Petersburg, Fla., although a third of them will be offered transfers elsewhere in the company.

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