Business & Finance

Despite a better-than-expected 13 percent jump in sales for the first half of the year, struggling Vivendi Universal reported a $12.2 billion loss. The French media and entertainment giant also said it will put $9.8 billion worth of assets up for sale, chiefly Boston-based textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin.

General Motors and a consortium of banks will pump $1.35 billion in new funding into money-losing truck subsidiary Isuzu of Japan, reports said. GM also will trade its 49 percent stake in Isuzu for a 12 percent stake, plus majority control of the latter's diesel engine plants in the US and Poland – apparently to keep them from being sold to a competitor should Isuzu ultimately go bankrupt.

IBM confirmed the cutting of 15,600 jobs in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The bulk of the layoffs were in its Global Services unit. At the same time, IBM is adding 30,000 workers from its purchase of the consulting and technology-services arm of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Genuity Inc. won another 30 days to renegotiate debts of $3.15 billion in an agreement with creditors. Last month, former parent Verizon – which is owed $1.15 billion – cancelled plans to retake control of the Internet network services provider. That put Woburn, Mass.-based Genuity in default on a $2 billion credit line from an international banking consortium. Among Genuity's clients are America Online, Sun Microsystems, and Yahoo!

Bankrupt Ames Department Stores Inc. said it will close all 327 of its stores and liquidate their inventory. The Rocky Hill, Conn.-based discount retailer was the US's fourth-largest, behind Wal-Mart, Kmart, and Target, and employed 22,000 people at outlets in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions.

A federal court in Denver ordered American Cyanamid to pay $57 million to the University of Colorado and two professors in a retrial of a 1997 lawsuit that accused the pharmaceutical company of patenting a vitamin formula the professors had developed. American Cyanamid is a subsidiary of Madison, N.J.-based Wyeth, whose spokesman said the penalty would be appealed.

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