Business & Finance

Two of the world's highest-profile banks, Mizuho Holdings Inc. and Crédit Suisse Group, either forecast or said they'll post massive losses for the 2002 business year. Mizuho, which has more assets under management than any competitor, warned of a $16.9 billion deficit, the largest in Japanese history, mostly due to write-offs of bad loans. Crédit Suisse reported a European record $2.48 billion loss, blaming it on a combination of nonperforming loans, investment writedowns, and cash set aside to deal with lawsuits involving its troubled First Boston securities unit.

Energizer Holdings Inc. will pay just under $1 billion for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc.'s Schick-Wilkinson Sword brand of razors, The Wall Street Journal reported. The move brings St. Louis-based Energizer into greater competition with personal-care products specialist Gillette Co., owner of Duracell, the US's best-selling battery brand.

More than 1,000 layoffs were announced by BAE Systems, the giant British aerospace and defense contractor, almost all in its shipbuilding and underwater systems units. The Financial Times reported, however, that the move could be an attempt to pressure the British government, which is expected to award a $4.6 billion contract later this week for two new aircraft carriers. Meanwhile, BAE dismissed as "speculation" a published report that it's exploring a merger with US aerospace giant Boeing. The two have collaborated on several projects.

Major League Baseball said it had no knowledge of the possible sale of one of its premier franchises, the Los Angeles Dodgers, despite a published report that "serious" efforts are under way to dispose of the team and its 56,000-seat stadium. Citing sources close to the situation, The Sporting News said media tycoon Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which has owned the Dodgers since 1997, has hired Allen & Co., a New York investment bank specializing in entertainment industry transactions, to find a buyer. The publication put the asking price at more than $400 million for the team and 41-year-old Dodger Stadium.

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