Business & Finance

FedEx Corp. said it plans to cut as many as 14,000 jobs at its package-delivery unit. Workers are being offered early retirement and voluntary severance, in a reduction that the Memphis, Tenn., company said will save up to $190 million a year.

IBM Corp.'s accounting practices are under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the computer hardware giant revealed Monday. A spokesman said IBM is cooperating with the inquiry into some 2000-2001 revenues, which is believed to stem from a separate SEC probe of a customer of its electronic cash-register subsidiary.

PeopleSoft Inc. agreed to pay $1.5 billion in stock for rival J.D. Edwards & Co., in a merger that will create the world's second-largest producer of business-management software. PeopleSoft is based in Pleasanton, Calif; J.D. Edwards is in Denver.

Deeply troubled nuclear power plant operator British Energy reported a pretax loss of $7 billion for its 2002 business year and forecast more problems over the coming months due to falling electricity rates. The largest share of the deficit was accounted for by a $5.9 billion write-down of the value of the operator's nine plants. The company, which was privatized six years ago, is restructuring with the help of a $320 million government bailout.

PNC Financial Services Group agreed with the Justice Department to pay $115 million in restitution and other penalties to avoid prosecution for securities fraud. It also promised to cooperate in a continuing investigation of the matter; otherwise, prosecution can be reinstated. PNC is accused, through a subsidiary, of trying to hide $762 million in nonperforming loans and investments. PNC is based in Pittsburgh and has more than 600 branches in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, Ohio, and Kentucky.

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