Business & Finance
International banking and insurance giant ING Group said it will seek to strengthen its capital base by selling off an estimated $1.25 billion worth of stock. It identified the shares as those of rival Dutch bank ABN Amro Holding NV. Like other financial-services companies, ING has lost substantial money due to the slumping stock market. From the end of February to the end of March, its revaluation reserve - the cash used to cover changes in the value of its portfolio - has sunk by $801 million.
In a deal valued at $1.3 billion, Barclays PLC said its banking subsidiary in Spain finally has bought rival Banco Zaragozano. The merger, which still needs shareholder approval, will triple Barclays' customer base in Spain, one of Europe's fastest-growing economies. The new partners discussed a deal last year, but Banco Zaragozano's co-chairmen began experiencing personal legal problems that changed the circumstances. Barclays is the third-largest bank in Britain.
Sega, the struggling maker of video games, appeared to be back at square one after merger discussions with two suitors collapsed on the same day. The company called off a deal with Sammy Corp., a leader in the amusement arcade industry, saying it would not have brought the benefits originally anticipated. At the same time, rival Namco, the developer of Pac-Man, withdrew its offer of merger terms as Sega's deadline for a response expired. All three companies are Japanese. Analysts have suggested that other potential suitors might include Microsoft and Electronic Arts of Redwood City, Calif., which develops video games for the EA Sports and DreamWorks Interactive brands and operates America Online's game channel.