Business & Finance

Hoping to salvage an $18 billion buyout of rival Hughes Electronics, satellite-TV heavyweight EchoStar Communications was to present federal antitrust regulators Monday with a plan to help a third company enter the business, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said EchoStar agreed to share technology with – and to transfer more than 40 broadcast frequencies to – Cablevision Systems of Bethpage, N.Y. The Federal Communications Commission rejected the EchoStar-Hughes merger last week due to concerns that it would create a virtual monopoly.

French media giant Vivendi Universal is discussing a "highly attractive" offer for its Houghton Mifflin publishing unit from a consortium led by buyout specialists Blackstone Group and Thomas H. Lee Partners, The Wall Street Journal reported. It said a deal is possible within days. Vivendi is said to want at least $1.7 billion for Boston-based Houghton Mifflin, which it acquired for $2.2 billion last year.

BASF, the world's largest chemical company, will buy the licenses to seven insecticide and fungicide products as well as a manufacturing plant from rival Bayer AG, the companies announced. The deal, valued at $1.16 billion, was a condition of regulator approval for Bayer's takeover last year of the crop science business of French pharmaceutical giant Aventis.

In ceremonies near Seoul, General Motors formally began its long-awaited assumption of bankrupt Daewoo's auto-making operations in South Korea. With angry laid-off workers protesting outside, new president Nick Reilly repeatedly stressed that the relaunched company "is still Korean." He predicted some "early" losses before domestic sales begin recovering in the first half of 2003 and exports by late next year. GM paid $251 million for 42.1 percent of Daewoo. Creditors hold a 33 percent stake, with the rest owned by Japan's Suzuki Motor Corp. and China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.

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