Business & Finance

Qwest Communications International is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors, the Denver-based company revealed, joining the ranks of troubled telecommunications firms such as WorldCom and Global Crossing. Qwest already faces Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) scrutiny for its accounting practices, and analysts said the latest news could damage its planned sale of assets to help meet debt payments. Qwest shares, worth $60 two years ago, closed Wednesday at $1.77, down 83 cents.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. is the subject of an informal inquiry by the SEC, the Financial Times reported. Federal regulators are looking into whether the pharmaceuticals giant may have inflated revenues by $1 billion last year through sales to wholesalers that created an inventory glut. The company said it is cooperating fully with the investigation.

US Airways won conditional approval for a $900 million guaranteed federal loan to help stave off bankruptcy. But the congressionally mandated Air Transportation Stabilization Board stressed that the carrier still must show it has final agreements with its unionized employees on wage concessions. Tentative agreements have been reached with the pilots' and flight attendants' unions but not with machinists or gate personnel. US Airways lost $2.1 billion last year and was one of the hardest-hit in the industry following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

i2 Technologies Inc., a supplier of software for business applications, is expected to announce the layoff of up to 1,500 people, The Wall Street Journal reported. Senior executives of the Dallas-based company said a broad restructuring plan would be outlined next Wednesday.

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