Business & Finance

The contest for control of TRW Inc.'s aerospace business took a new turn when the company announced it will sell its Aeronautical Systems division to Goodrich Corp. for $1.5 billion. The unit is a leading supplier to Western aerospace programs, both civil and military. Analysts said the sale will make the remainder of TRW even more attractive to defense contractor Northrop Grumman, which has made a series of unsolicited bids now worth $6.7 billion. Northrop Grumman, however, is not believed to be interested in TRW's auto-parts division.

Cendant Corp., which already owns the Avis car-rental system, is negotiating to buy rival Budget, The Wall Street Journal reported. Citing sources familiar with the situation, the Journal said the likely terms would be $100 million in cash, plus the assumption of about $3 billion in Budget's debt. An Avis-Budget merger would result in the industry's second-largest company, behind Enterprise.

Troubled software maker Peregrine Systems Inc. said it will cut its 2,900-person workforce almost in half over the summer. The San Diego-based company has lost money for two straight years, recently admitted overstating revenues by as much as $100 million, and has been under a federal investigation into its accounting practices.

Broadband network provider VersaTel voluntarily filed for bankruptcy protection in both US and Dutch courts to try to avoid a collapse similar to that of rival KPNQwest. The Amsterdam-based company has a customer base of almost 80,000 small and midsize businesses across northern Europe and said its operations would not be affected.

Fairchild Dornier, the world's third-largest maker of passenger jets for the regional market, must cut up to one-third of its 3,700-person workforce, a court-appointed administrator said. He said the bankrupt German company was all but certain to be sold off in pieces after Canada's Bombardier conglomerate, apparently the last hope for rescuing it intact, pulled out of negotiations Tuesday.

Volkswagen announced it will bring back the Microbus, the minivan that became an icon in the hippie culture of the 1960s. The automaker said it expected to produce about 80,000 units a year, probably beginning in 2005. It expected two-thirds of the output would be exported to the US market, with a base price of just under $30,000 each.

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