Business & Finance

Citigroup Inc., the world's largest financial-services company, reported a record profit of $4.69 billion for the third quarter, up 20 percent from the same period last year. "All of our businesses made solid progress" and two-thirds posted double-digit gains amid a strengthening global economy, said Sanford Weill of his final three months as chief executive. He stepped down Oct. 1 but remains chairman.

Sony Corp. refused to comment on a published report that it will lay off as many as 20,000 employees worldwide. The Tokyo business newspaper Nihon Keizai said Monday that the job cuts would be completed by March 2006 and would be combined with the phaseout of cathode-ray tube production for TV sets built in Japan. A Sony spokesman said only that any decisions affecting the future of the company would be addressed at a planned news briefing next Tuesday. Last April, however, a senior executive suggested that cathode-ray tube production would be a candidate for structural reform.

Carlton Communications, one of the largest independent broadcasters in Europe, flatly rejected a demand by shareholders that it fire chairman and founder Michael Green as the company pursues a megamerger with rival Granada PLC. Carlton has offered $7.5 billion for Granada, and the prospect of a deal reportedly is looked upon favorably by regulators in Britain. Institutional shareholders led by Fidelity, the US investment fund, want Green out because of Carlton's slow pace in building revenue and profits back up after the recent industrywide decline in advertising and because of a failed pay-TV venture, the Financial Times reported. Carlton and Granada are both based in London.

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