Business & Finance

AT&T Corp. is cutting 3,500 jobs in its business services division. The company disclosed in December that it would be reducing jobs in the section, but had not revealed the number, which represents nearly 5 percent of the telecommunications giant's workforce. AT&T will take a charge of $240 million, or 20 cents per share, in the fourth quarter to cover costs associated with the cuts, as well as a $1.1 billion writedown on its Latin America investments.

In a long-anticipated deal that would create the biggest US steelmaker, International Steel Group offered $1.5 billion for bankrupt Bethlehem Steel's mills and related assets. International Steel president and chief executive Rodney Mott said the company hasn't determined yet how many jobs will be cut as a result of the buyout, but analysts predicted that between 20 percent and 50 percent of Bethlehem's remaining 12,000 workers may be laid off.

Faced with a looming funding shortfall, Tyco International said it planned to raise $4.75 billion through a new line of bank credit and the sale of convertible bonds. The vast conglomerate, registered in Bermuda but with its headquarters in Exeter, N.H., has debt payments of $5.8 billion due in February. Tyco is trying to restructure amid an inquiry by federal regulators into its accounting practices and pending fraud and corruption trials for several former top executives.

Japanese camera and filmmakers Minolta and Konica said they will merge this summer in a bid to remain competitive. The firms declined to disclose financial terms of the deal, but said Minolta will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica, while remaining its equal partner. They projected annual sales of $11 billion for the new company, up from a current combined $8 billion.

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