Business & Finance

The Walt Disney Co. shelved plans to build a theme park in Shanghai, China's wealthiest city, for at least seven more years, a spokeswoman said. Instead, she said the entertainment giant would shift its attention back to the park in Hong Kong for which Disney expects to break ground next month. She would not discuss whether the decision on Shanghai was affected by last Friday's announcement that Universal Studios will build a theme park costing almost $1 billion in the city. Universal has said it expects to open the park in 2006.

BNP Paribas acknowledged it has sought the OK from banking regulators in France to buy still more stock in Crédit Lyonnais, which would increase its stake in its smaller rival to 20 percent. But it also is expected to issue a statement this week indicating that it has only friendly designs on Crédit Lyonnais and wants to discuss "industrial cooperation" - i.e., a partnership. Twice since Nov. 24, BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, has bought stock in Crédit Lyonnais, raising its stake to 16.2 percent and prompting speculation that it's aiming at a takeover. Last weekend, senior executives of Crédit Lyonnais all but admitted that their company is too small to survive alone, although they said their desire was to protect its autonomy.

Cable & Wireless was to open discussions with Deutsche Telekom and creditor banks to limit the fallout of an agreement that could tie up 70 percent of its cash reserves for years, reports said. Shares in the struggling communications group were plunging Monday, with investors howling in protest, on word that Cable & Wireless had agreed - in a 1999 deal with Deutsche Telekom - to set aside $2.4 billion for possible tax liabilities if its credit rating fell to junk status. That happened Friday when Moody's Investors Service cut its long-term worthiness by two levels.

Another 1,000 jobs will be cut by Gemplus International, a leader in making traditional magnetic-strip and smart cards, reports said. The Luxembourg-based company laid off 1,200 workers last February.

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