After lengthy negotiations, Philip Morris agreed to sell its Miller Brewing Co. subsidiary to South African Breweries PLC for $5.6 billion in stock and assumed debt. The deal still requires regulatory approval. The new company, to be called SABMillerPLC, would be the industry's second-largest, after Anheuser-Busch.
Trading in shares of KPNQwest, the largest data-services provider in Europe, was suspended on the Amsterdam stock exchange as investors braced for an announcement that its network might be shut down. Analysts said such a move would have "enormous" implications for the dozens of multinational clients that depend on the network for data transmission. The joint venture of Denver-based Qwest Communications and the Dutch telecommunications company KPN filed for bankruptcy protection last week. Lenders have refused to advance it any more cash, and no likely buyer has appeared on the horizon.
El Paso Corp. said it will cut energy-trading activities and the staff who conduct them by half and focus on its core natural gas business amid pressure on the industry in the wake of Enron's collapse. The moves affect 300 jobs and $1 billion in trades for the Houston-based company.
In its second major announcement in less than a week, CMS Energy Corp. said it will sell its oil and gas exploration unit. The move followed the resignation of its chief executive amid disclosures that the Dearborn, Mich.-based company had engaged in a common but much criticized power-trading practice.
Nortel Networks announced it will lay off another 3,500
workers and may put its optical components business up for sale. The Canadian telecommunications equipment manufacturer has cut 50,000 jobs since Jan. 1, 2001.