Business & Finance

Liberty Media Corp. became the third bidder to quit the race for Vivendi Universal's US entertainment assets. As with previous dropouts, the Englewood, Colo., company said Vivendi's $14 billion asking price is too high. Monday's announcement came on the eve of a meeting by the French conglomerate's board to further whittle down its list of suitors. General Electric's NBC-TV unit and a group of investors led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. are considered the strongest remaining contenders.

Computer Associates International agreed to settle three investor class-action lawsuits Monday by issuing them as many as 5.7 million shares, and said it would take a $97 million charge in the current quarter to cover the deal. The suits relate to the corporate softwaremaker's accounting procedures, which are the subject of ongoing regulatory and criminal inquiries. Computer Associates is based in Islandia, N.Y.

Credit Suisse First Boston was hired to recommend the best way for the South Korean government to sell its 35 percent stake in Daewoo Heavy Industries, a builder of construction machinery and factory automation systems and one of the key components of the bankrupt business empire of the same name. The Financial Times said bankers estimate the sell-off could net $1 billion. Since Daewoo's collapse in 1999, its automaking division has been bought by General Motors and its shipbuilding unit was spun off as a freestanding company that is prospering.

The Golden Gallon convenience-store chain will be sold by troubled international food marketing giant Royal Ahold to help reduce debt and restore the confidence of investors shaken by its accounting scandal, the Financial Times reported. Terms of the sale to The Pantry Inc., a rival based in Sanford, N.C., were not announced. Both chains operate in the Southeastern US. Since news of its overstated earnings broke earlier this year, Royal Ahold has shed several of its smaller businesses and is aiming to dispose of the bulk of its operations in South America by year's end.

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