Business & Finance

Ford Motor Co. joined rivals General Motors and Chrysler in offering five-year, interest-free financing on an extended variety of new vehicles. In its bid to spur lagging sales, Ford also announced $5-a-day lease deals on some Mustang and Ranger pickup models.

Air Canada became the latest major carrier to file for bankruptcy, asking a court in Toronto for protection from creditors while it restructures. The carrier, which has not made a profit since 1999, reportedly has $253 million in reserves but $8.8 billion in long-term debt and lease obligations, and an employee pension plan that is underfunded by $690 million. Canada's transport minister said the Ottawa government is studying ways to be of assistance.

Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, agreed to buy Clayton Homes Inc. in a deal valued at $1.7 billion. Based in Knoxville, Tenn., Clayton is one of the largest builders of manufactured, or mobile, homes. Its shareholders must approve the merger.

Troubled media giant Vivendi Universal was waiting to learn whether it will have to pay $2.7 billion in taxes and interest on the sale of shares that one of its subsidiaries held in the DuPont chemical company. reported that the Internal Revenue Service has challenged the sale of 156 million shares by Seagram Co. back to DuPont in 1995 and that the matter now is before the IRS's appeals division. Vivendi acquired Seagram three years ago for $30 billion. Vivendi said it has adequate financial reserves to cover the back taxes plus any penalty.

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