Business & Finance

EchoStar Communications Corp. and Hughes Electronics asked the Federal Communications Commission to delay a decision on their proposed $26 billion merger, heading off an anticipated rejection. The companies sought time to consider major revisions to their deal to create the nation's biggest pay-TV service, due to antitrust concerns at the FCC and the Justice Department. EchoStar operates Dish Network; Hughes owns DirecTV.

In talks on restructuring Conseco Inc.'s $6.5 billion debt, major bondholders have proposed a full takeover of the insurance and financial services giant, their legal adviser said. Analysts and investors expect the negotiations to result in a "prepackaged" Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. If that were to happen, it could rank as the third-largest in recent US history, after WorldCom and Enron.

Struggling Isuzu Motors dismissed as "speculation" a published report that it will stop building sport-utility vehicles in the US by year's end. The Tokyo business journal Nihon Keizai said the move would make Isuzu the first Japanese automaker to halt "direct" production of SUVs on American soil. The company holds a 49 percent stake in an East Lafayette, Ind., joint venture with Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. that makes slow-selling Trooper, Rodeo, and Axiom SUVs. Isuzu's Ascender model is scheduled for its debut this fall. Fuji Heavy Industries is the parent of Subaru, whose Legacy models and Legacy Outback SUV have been selling well in the US, the report said.

In new layoff announcements:

• Credit Suisse First Boston said it will cut up to 1,750 more jobs on top of the 4,500 workers previously let go. The new round will begin immediately, a spokesman said.

• Bankrupt US Airways will add 642 more layoffs to the 1,400 already slated for this year, according to a spokes-man. The carrier is in the process of cutting back its flight schedule by 13 percent and its fleet of jets by 10 percent.

• Raytheon, the defense contractor, said last month's loss of a satellite communications project for the Pentagon would result in almost 400 job cuts in Massachusetts and 115 at its facility in El Segundo, Calif.

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