Business & Finance

Halliburton Co. agreed to set aside $4 billion in cash and stock to settle 300,000 current and potential future asbestos claims, in a deal that the plaintiff's lead attorney called a "model" for others. Most of the claims stem from Halliburton's acquisition of Dresser Industries four years ago, when the Dallas-based oil-field services giant was headed by Vice President Cheney.

Dole Foods chairman David Murdock agreed to pay $2.5 billion for all of the company's outstanding stock, taking the produce giant private after coming under fire from shareholders for doing too little to promote it on Wall Street. The $33.50 per share price is $4 more than he first offered in September.

In its second major outsourcing deal this year, IBM signed a 10-year, $2.5 billion contract with German financial giant Deutsche Bank for computing services. The contract calls for the bank to transfer 900 technical employees and the data centers in which they work to IBM's employ on terms similar to a seven-year, $4 billion deal reached with American Express Co. in February.

In a deal said to be imminent, General Dynamics will acquire the defense unit of General Motors for $1.1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. The sale is expected to involve 2,400 workers at facilities in California and outside the US, and would make General Dynamics the top producer of armored vehicles, the Journal said.

Unionized reservation and gate workers reached agreement with US Airways on a new round of wage concessions, estimated in the $15 million range. The bankrupt carrier says it needs $200 million in labor givebacks, and union officials said it threatened liquidation if they didn't agree to the cuts by today. The airline is continuing talks with flight attendants, machinists, and transport workers.

Sunbeam Corp. emerged from bankruptcy and changed its name to American Household Inc. The Boca Raton, Fla., company sought protection from creditors in February 2001, listing debts of $2 billion. It makes kitchen appliances, smoke detectors, generators, fire extinguishers, and outdoor leisure products under the Sunbeam, Mr. Coffee, Oster, Coleman, and First Alert/Powermate labels.

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