Business & Finance

WorldCom Inc. revealed a further $3.3 billion in improper accounting, which the telecommunications company said it uncovered during an internal review, for a grand total of $7.1 billion. WorldCom, based in Clinton, Miss., also said it may write off $50.6 billion in goodwill when it restates finances. Analysts said the late Thursday announcement could increase pressure for the removal of chief executive John Sidgmore. He took over in April, three months before WorldCom declared bankruptcy in the largest filing in US corporate history.

Global Crossing Ltd., agreed to sell majority control to two Asian telecommunications firms for $250 million. Hutchison Whampoa Ltd., a Hong Kong conglomerate believed to have links to the Chinese military, and Singapore Technologies Telemedia will acquire 61.5 percent of the Bermuda company. The deal follows several months of negotiations.

A group of AOL Time Warner shareholders filed a lawsuit against the troubled media giant in US district court on Saturday, reports said. The shareholders claim that the company committed fraud by trying to hide news of declining advertising revenue. The Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating AOL Time Warner over allegations that it inflated online ad revenues between 2000 and 2002 by $270 million.

A friend of Martha Stewart is cooperating with investigators looking into Stewart's links to the ImClone insider-trading scandal, The Wall Street Journal reported. The witness, real-estate agent Mariana Pasternak, was traveling with Stewart to Mexico on Dec. 27, 2001. Lifestyle maven Stewart sold 4,000 ImClone shares that day, hours before they plunged in value. Stewart has said the sale occurred under a prior arrangement with her broker and has denied receiving a tipoff that members of ImClone's founding Waksal family were unloading stock.

Unilever reportedly is looking to sell designer perfume unit Cosmetics International as the Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant refocuses on mainstream brands. Media reports said Unilever hoped to get as much as $750 million for the division, which produces Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld, Vera Wang, and Nautica perfumes. L'Oréal, Estée Lauder, and Procter and Gamble were mentioned among the potential buyers.

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